Photo Gallery | Bascom Lodge's 2014 opening celebration
ADAMS -- It's not every day you get to help build a tepee at 3,491 feet.
But a dozen people earned that opportunity Saturday when the Bascom Lodge opened for its 76th season.
The opening, held on top of Mount Greylock, was celebrated with several traditional Native American activities led by Fidel Moreno.
Moreno told attendees history of the Mahican people, who settled in the Hudson Valley and Western New England. They traveled in bands of 70 people, he said, and summer gatherings of extended family saw 700 to more than 1,000.
"There were a lot of boundaries in here," Moreno said, explaining the social structure inside of the tepee. "Mothers-in-law couldn't tease sons-in-laws, but brothers-in-law couldn't tease sisters-in-law. There was a social control there."
Inside the tepee, either the band's chief or a veteran would sit in the middle, with his first-born child and wife on his left, or "heart," side, Moreno said, and his parents and siblings on the right. The wife would sit underneath the rope that ties the tepee's poles together, symbolizing the mother's role in keeping a family together.
"That's like a satellite dish," he said pointing upward to where the poles come together. "Connected to the celestial movement and the stars."
Moreno also led a mountain blessing inside of the lodge's lobby, praying for the safety of hikers and other visitors to the summit.
"I think today has been pretty good," Peter Dudek, cultural programmer at the lodge, said in between activities Saturday. "The tepee was full, the lobby was packed."
Saturday's events were among the first of the season, which will include live music and historical and artist talks, he said.
For a complete listing of upcoming events, visit www.bascomlodge.net.
Dudek, his brother Peter, and Brad Parsons have served as the management team since beginning a 25-year lease from the Department of Conservation and Recreation in 2009, and have made numerous upgrades since then.
Dudek said an upcoming improvement will be a teaching garden on the lodge's perimeter, with plants native to the sub-alpine forest.
The lodge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid 1930s and offers meals, lodging and other amenities at the 3,491-foot peak.
Once at the top, one is able to take in breathtaking views of five states on a clear day and visit the Veteran's War Memorial Tower.
The summit is open seven days a week from May 31 through October 19 and sees roughly 250,000 visitors each year, with 30,000 cars making their way up the steep roads that were restored between 2009 to 2012.
To reach Edward Damon:
or (413) 663-3741 ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon