Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Natural and Cultural History Hikes Series

We had the first of two Cultural and Natural History Hikes this past Saturday. These hikes are aimed at introducing people to the rich history on the Appalachian Trail in the valley west of the Housatonic River.

Natural Resources Tech Becca discusses a flowering Mountain Laurel
On Saturday, we hiked from the Kellogg Center to the Shays' Rebellion monument. Pastured sheep in the first section of the hike remind us of how historical land use is echoed in present-day farming. Those same fields were most likely used as sheep pasture during colonial times. Our walk through the woods was resplendent with wildflowers - Natural Resources Tech Becca Carden shared some of their secrets with us. The most exciting thing I learned on this hike? When the mountain laurel is in bloom, the pink dots inside each flower hold the flower's anthers. When a pollinator (or small stick) enters the flower, the anthers are activated by the touch and the spring out and hit the pollinator, effectively dusting him with pollen!

The activated Mountain Laurel flower
Once we were through the shady sections, the trail opened up onto the bridge over Mill Creek and the wetlands associated with it. We were treated to even more wildflowers before reaching the Shays' Rebellion Monument, a dedication to the last battle of Shays' Rebellion which occurred in the very early years of America's independence.

The next hike in this series is on Thursday, July 28th at 10 AM. Meet at the Kellogg Center on Route 41 in South Egremont. This one mile hike will take us through a stately pine forest and into the rolling fields of the Kellogg Conservation Center. After the hike, we will host an exclusive tour of the historic April Hill Farm buildings (original home built in 1744). Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the patio. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Race Brook Hike

Photo by Amillie Coster
Last Saturday, in spite of summery temperatures, we had a lovely hike up the Race Brook Trail and the AT to the top of Mt. Everett. Hannah Chamberlain of ATC, Amillie Coster of Race Brook Lodge and Bill Boyer, the Race Brook Trail volunteer Maintainer, were hike leaders.The hike was planned in coordination with Race Brook Lodge.  It's great to know that some of our local businesses are as dedicated to getting people outdoors as we at the KCC are! We're hoping to host a few more hikes of varying difficulty levels with Race Brook Lodge this summer and fall , so keep an eye out for announcements.