I misspoke in last week's column directing Cheshire Cobble (AT) hikers to park at the post office. Susan Nye, postmaster in Cheshire suggests AT hikers use the parking along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. Parking at postal facilities is reserved for postal customers, postal employees and postal vehicles.
Autumn comes but once a year, get out and enjoy it. Here are three of my South County favorites, and remember the brighter the day, the brighter the foliage.
Lime Kiln Farm
Wildlife Sanctuary, Sheffield
From beginning to end, Lime Kiln Farm Wildlife Sanctuary includes vistas of the Taconic Mountains beyond open hayfields and stone walls. Look for long-abandoned marble quarry pits and a 40-foot-high lime kiln.
This easy and peaceful walk, interrupted by the rustling of leaves, offers a nice view of Mount Everett, reaching 2,624 feet above sea level, and you won't have to walk far to begin enjoying this outing.
Start at the orientation kiosk with a large local map and information. Trail maps are available to use on your walk. To make the journey easier, follow the blue plastic markers to head away from the kiosk and the yellow ones to return.
From the center of Sheffield (at post office), continue on Route 7, turning right at Silver Street. Drive 1.1 miles to the sanctuary entrance on the right.
Jug End State Reservation
Take Route 41 at Mill Pond in Egremont, turn right onto Mount Washington Road to Jug End Road, for an easy two-mile loop trail that begins at the far end of the parking lot at a kiosk with information and trail maps.
Look for the concrete footing of the former silo, once part of a large cattle barn that was built in 1928, and converted in 1935 to a hotel that became the focal point of the resort. Gone are the days of skiing and sleigh rides in winter; tennis and swimming in summer; today the 1,158 acre area draws hikers for the beauty of its woods, open fields, and vistas.
And regardless of where you may find yourself when on an outing, keep your eyes to the sky for migrating hawks. It can be quite thrilling to see dozens or even hundreds of raptors winging southward.
Tyringham Cobble, Tyringham
If a relaxed drive through Tyringham Valley is in itself a tonic, the peace and beauty of Tyringham Cobble is without parallel.
At Tyringham Center, turn right onto Jerusalem Road. Entrance on right. Once within the gate, you are on land that was part of Tyringham Shaker Village in the 1800s.
Late season wildflowers greet the visitor in this four-season sanctuary. The two-mile loop trail presents a fairly difficult hike in places, so be prepared to take your time. Views of the surrounding valley are payment enough for the effort. It is a wonderful place for bird watching, especially during fall and spring migrations, and a few migrating monarchs and late dragonflies may be seen in nearby fields.
Questions and comments for Thom Smith: Email Naturewatch@live.com