Ramble On: Adams hosts RambleFest on Sunday and the annual Greylock Ramble on Monday

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ADAMS — Perhaps apple cider and cider donuts aren't the best hiking fuel, but there's only one way to find out.

Sunday's annual RambleFest at the Adams Visitors Center is the party before the hike on Monday, and includes food, live music, local beer, and — yes — apple cider and donuts.

The event is the lead-in to the popular Greylock Ramble on Monday, the annual Columbus Day tradition — a celebration of the mountain and the foliage — now in its 48th year. Thousands of people hike the Cheshire Harbor Trail to Mount Greylock's summit where they take a look around and then head back down.


"The whole concept was to take advantage of things Adams does uniquely," said David Bissaillon, a member of ProAdams, the group that organizes RambleFest. "We said, 'Let's extend the weekend. Let's provide a downtown event.' And it's been terrific."

Adams' own Jaeschke's Orchard will be at the RambleFest, which is Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., at the Visitors Center, selling fresh local cider and cider donuts. Local craft beer will also be available for those of age, with Sheffield's Big Elm Brewing and South Deerfield-based Berkshire Brewing Company pouring pints throughout the day.

But there's plenty of fun to be had by children, as well. In addition to pumpkin decorating and face painting hosted by the Adams Youth Center, there will be horse drawn historic trolley tours through town.

And with current forecasts calling for highs of just less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit with some sunshine on Saturday and Sunday, RambleFest visitors can stay warm next to the traditional bonfire.

The Ramble

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The Greylock Ramble begins at 8 a.m. on Monday. Since parking at the base of the Cheshire Harbor Trail is limited, shuttles bring hikers from the Adams Free Library on Park Street to the trailhead from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The return shuttles run as late as 4 p.m.

Although the Ramble began five decades ago, organizers aren't counting this year's as the 50th anniversary.

"We actually had to take two years off when they redid the roads" leading to the summit, said Pamela Duval, a member of the Adams Events Planning Committee.

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The Cheshire Harbor Trail is the easiest path to the top of the mountain, a total of 6.6 miles up and down, and typically takes about four to five hours round trip—depending on how long you take at the summit to soak in the view. Duval stressed the importance of staying on the proper trail for safety reasons.

As with previous years, awards will be handed out to the youngest and oldest hikers, as well as the hiker who traveled the furthest to participate.

If on a leash, dogs are welcome to come along.

Both events will be held rain or shine and hikers are always advised to prepare for chillier temperatures atop the mountain. In total, the trek is an elevation gain of 2,100 feet.

• At 3,491 feet, it's the state's highest peak. However, it's small compared to its cousins that make up the rest of the Appalachian Trail — Mount Greylock doesn't even crack the Top 10 list.

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• Mount Greylock State Reservation was the state's first wilderness park in 1898. The reservation began with 400 acres. It now includes more than 12,500 acres.

• Mount Greylock's summit is located in Adams, but the state reservation includes land in Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough, New Ashford, North Adams and Williamstown.

• Early names for the mountain included Grand Hoosuck and Saddleback Mountain. It wasn't until the 1830s that the name "Graylock" came into favor. Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the first to document its current name.

• The earliest record of a road to the summit was recorded by Timothy Dwight, the retired president of Yale, when traveled through the area in 1799. The "cart road" was cut by a farmer.

• In the 1800s, the mountain's slopes were home to farmers, sheep herds, cider mills, a tannery, and iron and copper mines.

• The backbone of the mountain was formed by the remnants of an ancient sea bed.

• The mountain is home to moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcat, coyote, red and gray fox, fisher, porcupine, beaver, raccoon, snowshoe hare, woodchuck, red and gray squirrel, and more than 100 species of birds.

Sources: MassMoments.org and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation


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