Western Mass Adventure

A long weekend in North Adams and Williamstown, MA.

First to Mass MOCA. All the exhibitions were strong, but the retrospective of Sol LeWitt "wall drawings" is worth a special trip. Metiiculously installed on three floors of an old mill building, you can follow LeWitt's exploration of a simple (simple!) concept from 1969 through 2007. The works will be on display until 2033, but why wait? Visit early and often.

Next, on to the annual "Gathering" of the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association. This is a group of folks dedicated to serious backpacking. Almost all of them have through-hiked the Appalachian Trail (about 6 months to cover the entire 2,181 miles). Many have hiked it multiple times; many have hiked other long-distance trails.

The weekend was organized like a professional conference with speakers discussing PowerPoint "presos" at scheduled time-slots, but here the talks were about ultra-light gear, trailside first-aid, and how to re-supply when you're on the Pacific Crest Trail. The keynote speaker was "professional backpacker" Andrew Skurka. He gave a talk (with PowerPoint) describing his 2010 "tour" of Alaska -- 4,679 miles hiking, skiing, and paddling solo.

We had a beautiful camping spot south of Williamstown (generously donated by an ALDHA member and AT through-hiker) -- an open field facing the western flank of Mt. Greylock. Thanks to Pete & Laura for dragging me along!