Rich Lampron walks through deep snow (copy)

Rich Lampron tries to walk a few steps through the unplowed driveway to his Bates Road property in Windsor on Wednesday before giving up on the endeavor as the snow rose nearly to his waist. The nor’easter that hammered the Berkshires from Monday night into Tuesday hit hard in the hilltowns, leaving 30 or more inches of snow in several communities.

Just before dinnertime on Wednesday, Liston’s, the bar and restaurant up in Worthington, was beginning to fill up.

A half-dozen or so folks, already ensconced at the bar, turned to see each time the door swung open. Hands around their beers, hardly a one had taken off his or her bulky winter coat. A few hats had come off — at this point, who cared about the whorl of hair beneath? — and those were folded up next to the drink coasters.

After nearly two days of a nor’easter that stacked up anywhere from two to three or more feet of snow, the snow clouds had given way to a bright sunshine and inside was warm — but everyone’s winter coat wasn’t coming off just yet. Soon, they’d just have to be put back on.

In the hilltowns, nearest neighbors can be measured in miles. So, for miles around, Liston’s is an oasis — even when the snow outside is halfway up the windows. The conversations they were all having looked like good ones.

The bar crowd turned when the door swung open next. An older couple came in and explained to the waitstaff they still hadn’t gotten power back. And it wasn’t clear when they would. “But 11 p.m. is when they tell us,” the woman said.

To the folks here, Liston’s meant a warm meal and a warm room. And, of course, company. The bartender pulled taps for a new pair of beers. The couple took some of the last seats at the bar.

Soon, a few of those cherry-picker utility trucks squeezed into the parking lot. The snowbanks — Everest-looking things in a way — actually dwarfed the massive trucks parked up against them. And those fellows — bearded linemen in various layers of wool and Carhartt canvas — took up chairs around a few tables inside.

They didn’t say much. Some sat back and rubbed their eyes. They looked tired.

The view from the hilltowns

man looks behind him on a tractor in the snow
Gary Poulton uses snowblower in deep snow
Rich Lampron walks through deep snow
Caleb Mitchell shoveling deep snow
Caleb Mitchell and David Bachand dig through deep snow

The snow in the hilltowns — Windsor, Savoy, Florida, Plainfield, Cummington, Worthington, Hinsdale — was a sight to behold. And that was the motivation — to behold that sight — for this editor, along with his wife and their two daughters, to venture up into the high country for a look around.

Turning off Route 9, River Road, as we headed north toward Windsor Jambs, was down to a thin ribbon of pavement. The snow walls, higher than our Honda Pilot on either side, made it like driving through a chute. We slowed at turns and stopped completely at some bends to peer around before we dared to proceed.

Our youngest daughter wanted the Star Wars theme song on as we drove. It was a good music choice — a nice touch, actually — for our look around.

A few miles up the road, we spied a gaggle of utility trucks stopped up ahead. No way to get through. We backed up, for a while, until we finally found a driveway with just enough room to maneuver us back in the other direction.

We wound our way through the chutes and past trees with dollops of snow weighing down their limbs.

Just past the William Cullen Bryant homestead in Cummington, the snow in the fields was deep — too deep for snowmobiles even. The one snowmobile track we did see looked as if the driver schussed the machine left and right at high speed so as not to sink in. At least that was our guess.

Digging out

Every few miles, the back end of a farm tractor with a bucket on the front (one guy was in a payloader) would emerge from behind a clean break in the snowbank. Then, it pulled forward and slipped out of sight. We drove slowly to be on the safe side and marveled at the effort it took to free up a driveway.

A few miles later, we stopped to eat. We pushed through the door at Liston’s and into the scene I described above. Afterward, we got back into the car.

Taking Route 143 west toward home and with the sun bright and low in the sky, we crested the plateau and into Peru. Immediately, the snow — deep as it was everywhere — was noticeably the deepest we’d seen. And by a lot.

Earlier at Liston’s, I thought I’d overheard someone say Peru had received something like 42 inches.

If it was that, I wouldn’t argue.

Kevin Moran is the executive editor of The Berkshire Eagle.