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  1. #1

    Default Hike Mass or Virginia - Mid July?!?

    We are planning a week long hike starting July 16th. Looking at either the Mt. Rogers, VA or Southern Massachusetts area. Any suggestions?!? Weather looks to be about the same. The Ponies are a big draw in Virginia but thought the weather temps might be more stable in Massachusetts.
    The parking doesn't seem to be too safe in Virginia for hiking a couple nights and moving our two cars around - didn't see any bad press in Virigina for parking cars.

    We are new at this have only hiked the Maryland Section so far. We learned a bunch that week (May, 2011) and hopefully we do better after we lighten our loads.

    Any thoughts are appreciated!!!

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    Virginia, absolutely.

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    Registered User Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Three Black Labs View Post
    We are planning a week long hike starting July 16th. Looking at either the Mt. Rogers, VA or Southern Massachusetts area.
    You can't go wrong either way, seems to me. Mt. Rogers and Grayson Highlands are undoubtedly amazing - I want to make my way there someday soon.

    Mid-July is a very nice time to hike in NW Connecticut and SW Mass. You will get some hot days, doubtless, but it's usually a good 5 degrees or more lower on the peaks than in the valleys, due both to altitude and steady winds.

    Lots of thru-hikers are making their way through at that time, and the blueberries will be in peak season and can be found in abundance in the higher elevations Taconics, which straddle the border between the two states. From Salisbury, CT to Great Barrington, MA, the trail crosses some gorgeous country.

    From atop Lion's Head, Bear Mountain, Mts. Race and Everett and Jug End, there are a variety of nice views - Housatonic Valley, Greylock and southern Vermont, Catskills and Hudson Valley. Race Brook Falls and Sages Ravine, within the hike, are very nice, the latter right on the A.T. and former on a short side trail which is well worth the trip (five accessible waterfalls ranging from 30 to 75+ feet). There are also worthwhile side-trips westward to the Braces, Frissell, Alander and to Bash Bish Falls.

    If you come up this way with two cars, I recommend parking one in Falls Village, CT and the other in Sheffield, MA. You can hike from the Great Falls of the Housatonic, a large, thundering waterfall, past Rand's View, a Shenandoah-like view of the Taconics which you traverse next. Salisbury village and Great Barrington are nice stops along the way on either end of the hike, which would take a few days.

    From there, you could drive north 50 miles or so and hike in and around Mt. Greylock, parking at either end. The AMC's Massachusetts guide book has excellent maps of both Greylock and southwest Mass and neighboring Conn. and New York. If you have leftover time after Greylock, I highly recommend a trip up to southern Vermont for an overnight or a day at Stratton Mountain and Stratton Pond. Stratton affords amazing views in every direction from its summit fire tower, and the pond is well loved. Manchester and Bennington, are good-sized towns nearby.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Virginia, absolutely.
    I second Mr. Jack's opinion

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    Thanks for the input! Driver8 really did a great selling job on the northern trip. Oh My! What to do - being so new at this complicates the decision making. We are going out again in October to the section we don't get to in July. Decisions...decisions....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Virginia, absolutely.
    I second Mr. Jack's opinion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Three Black Labs View Post
    Thanks for the input! Driver8 really did a great selling job on the northern trip. Oh My! What to do - being so new at this complicates the decision making. We are going out again in October to the section we don't get to in July. Decisions...decisions....
    Thanks for your kind words, T.B.L.! Again, can't go wrong either way. I encourage blueberries and peak thru-hiking season in July then the fall in the highlands, but the foliage up here is wonderful in October.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

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    I'd vote for Grayson Highlands in July, Massachusetts in the Fall.

    My albeit limited experience re. temps: when I hiked Damascus to Fox Creek, it was a Memorial Day timeframe and while my home of Silver Spring, MD was experiencing 100 degree heat, Damascus was in the high 80s and the mountains where the AT was at least 10 degrees cooler. Now I'm not a local so they may want to chime in but the point is that despite the southern latitude, Grayson Highlands won't be necessarily hot - it might be cooler than Mass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    I'd vote for Grayson Highlands in July, Massachusetts in the Fall.
    The big things that keep me from agreeing with you are (1) peak blueberry season in Conn and Mass in July, which is a big plus hard to overstate, and (2) hiking among all the thrus passing through in July, which adds a lot to the experience. As I mentioned before, the foliage up here in October is pretty wonderful in the fall, but I bet it's superb down in southwest VA at that time, too. Blueberries and thrus would tip the scale for me - Bear and Everett and Lion's Head, especially, are flush with them in mid-July. I don't remember Race (which has amazing views along the ridges and at its summit, by the way, Black Labs) having a lot of blueberries, but I've only traversed it once on the A.T., so my memory of it is faint, except for the awesome views, that is.

    One tip on partaking of blueberries in the Taconics - rustle around in the bushes with your trekking poles or with a stick before sticking your hands in them. Rattlesnakes (and other snakes for that matter) love to camp out in berry bushes and wait for prey to come in and partake. They're not interested in us, but a hand in there is pretty threatening to them. T.P.-first is a good way to check and be safe.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

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    MASSACHUSETTS. The Bruins won so you have to go here!

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    MA will be mosquito heaven
    VA will be hot and humid

    take your pick

    (I'd do VT)







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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    MA will be mosquito heaven
    If you stay mostly in the higher elevations, the mosquitoes aren't that bad.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    If you stay mostly in the higher elevations, the mosquitoes aren't that bad.
    You mean there's a choice? There aren't any really high elevations in Ma. nobo after Jug End - just a few ridges, which will have fewer mosquitoes due mainly to the fact that there is less standing water there. Of course there is Mt. Greylock, but that's a long way from Sages Ravine. The first five miles or so north of Jug End are mosquito heaven (for them, at least ).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    Just got back from a month in VA that included your prosposed section. Perfect. Everything was perfect. I'll do the north in the fall when the colors start to change. Go hike VA. July in VA is great. My opinion, just sayin'.

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    Default Choices, Options, Decisions ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    You mean there's a choice?
    Yes. The OPs are doing two cars, iirc. I've recommended parking one near Great Falls, hike through Salisbury into Mass and hop into second car near Jug End (or wherever they please - the flats east of Jug End can't be all that compelling in comparison to the Taconics, I'd imagine, but one never knows; the skeeters would be a big deterrent without doubt). Won't see too many of them up in the highlands - I've been out there the past two weekends and can vouch for that.

    Then drive north to Greylock land - as I've recommended in a post above. Tromp around there in the relatively high ground for the most part. I'm bettin' minimal skeeters there, too. Then off to Stratton area, as I've also suggested. I don't know much about mosquitoes up there, but I do know its a gorgeous hike with beautiful forests on the mtn's crown and very nice views from the summit tower, plus the much-beloved pond. Don't reckon a few bugs would bug me too much, in exchange. ...
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

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    You'll like the terrain in VA better for sure, and you can't beat Grayson Highlands for views/ponies. It'll probably be warmer but in my opinion it's worth it.

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    are you kidding.grayson highlands or the bug infested board walks here in mass.no contest virginia wins. october is the time to be in mass.


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    If they avoid the swampy low lands of Mass by doing the trip as Driver8 suggested, the 'Sketers shouldn't be too bad. I'd still bring a tent or bug bivy though.
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    I sectioned Mass north of Rt. 20 in October and south of Rt. 20 in April. ON the latter, I had perfect weather and while enjoying the warm sunshine on the boardwalk, mused how thruhikers would probably hit this stretch in summer in time to enjoy heat and mosquitos.

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    Virginia gets the nod but the humidity here can be stifling in July so be ready to sweat buckets . I recommend the Grayson Highland area where light breezes are more prevalent on the open balds in higher elevations.
    Sunscreen and bug repellent should be packed in any case no matter where you do your summer hiking.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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