When I first moved to Massachusetts from Indiana I was so excited that I was going to be so close to hiking opportunities. I really could not get over the wonder of it... I mean I am within 20 minutes of some really great hikes. I am so close I could walk to my hike? Hmmm there is a question :)
I live right at the foot of the Berkshires and I tell you my possibilities for being in some pretty amazing nature are endless. In Indiana and Kansas hiking was so much harder to come by. One of the first things I did when we moved here was to Google "top ten hikes in Massachusetts" and one of the hikes on the list was Bash Bish Falls. Bash Bish Falls is right on the border between Massachusetts and New York. I mean so on the border that you can park in a Massachusetts parking lot or a New York parking lot to get to the hike. It is considered the highest waterfall in Massachusetts. I am not sure how many times I have hiked Bash Bish Falls. I can not even begin to remember how many groups of people I have dragged along with me to this waterfall. This hike has a ton of memories for me. A ton. I have not been to Bash Bish Falls in three years because of all those memories that tend to crowd a girl and remind her. But a few weeks ago I received a text from a friend telling me she would love one last hike with us before our lives change and we have moved on. I had already taken these dear peeps of mine on my favorite arches hike in Chester so we could not go on that one. I had lots of little hikers to think about so I decided it was time for me to put on my big girl panties and face Bash Bish Falls again it was the perfect hike for this group. It is a fairly easy and short hike with a good reward at the end. Four families ended up coming with us on our Memorial Day hike.
I am the kind of girl who likes to get up and get going early when it comes to hiking. No one has ever liked that part of me....except me. So I very carefully and thoughtfully chose the meeting time of 9 in the morning at the Friendly's restaurant at exit three on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Even though secretly 6 am sounded way better to me. I love the hour and ten minute drive to Bash Bish Falls. You go through some very quintessential New England towns. Stockbridge where Norman Rockwell lived. Great Barrington where all the New Yorkers with money used to come to for summer. So much to see and do in the Berkshires.
I always feel a little anxious when I take a group on a hike. I want them to have a good time. I want everything to be perfect. I knew Bash Bish Falls would be very popular on a holiday and I was hoping I was wrong but I was right. Actually in all my times I have been to Bash Bish Falls I have never seen so many people. I felt like I needed a flash pass to hike. It was very crowded. I can do crowds all day long except when they are in nature on MY hike. They can be at my beach. They can be at my Six Flags. They can be at my mall. Or my movie. Or even my Ikea but not on my, "communing with nature hike" :)
Once you get to Bash Bish Falls there are many trails around the falls that branch off to other places like Alander Mountain. My kids love to cross the water at the base of the falls and climb up the side and follow the trail to the top of Alander. They always get into serious trouble when they do this (like falling into water they can not easily get out of kind of trouble) but there is no stopping them and this time was no different. Madeline, Carlos, and Tatiana headed on while the rest of the group stopped to take pictures, eat licorice, and climb on rocks along with everyone else on the planet. There was even a math teacher there getting taped performing a math rap for youtube for his math students.
No matter how many times I go hiking my heart swells every time I go. The wonder of the world and how beautiful it is. The nine million parallels between hiking and life that run through my mind. The noticing of the different ways people hike and how that is like how we all get through life differently. Some of us race ahead. Some of us look down the whole way. Some of us need encouragement. Some of us think about helping others along the way. I do have a secret longing that someday I could hike with someone who looks at the world the way I do and notices what I do and can give me one smile and we both know what the other one is noticing. Yeah, I just threw some oversharing in with my blog about hiking :)
I would love to post some pictures of my hike but my darling children have managed to delete them from my computer :) So just imagine a waterfall, lots of people, some stone steps leading down to the waterfall with a railing for you to hold onto. A hike that goes straight down and then goes straight back up. Me with three of my dearest friends planning silly pictures which I would never post for you anyway. Remember they are all taller and cuter. My hair is in pigtails and I am wearing one of my childrens BYU sweatshirt, shorts. and my favorite casual black adidas shirt. Oh, imagine I got a few shots of my kids standing where they really should not be if I was a responsible mother that noticed danger possibilities. Don't forget to imagine all the trees and all the shades of green. Listen for the waterfall sound, because you can always hear that in pictures :) Geesh, I should have had you imagine a two hour movie :) Notice all the different sizes of rocks that are everywhere that the child in all of us delights on climbing :) And there, who needs a camera :)