A Day In The Berkshires
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A Day In The Berkshires

Taking a path less traveled.

A Day In The Berkshires

Over fall break, I visited the quaint little town of Stockbridge in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, home to Norman Rockwell, James Taylor, and Tanglewood (a music venue known for hosting performances in both classical and contemporary music). During this time of year, leaf peepers flock to the hills of the Berkshires to view fall's beautiful display of colors from the roads, fields, and hiking trails. As one of the many people visiting for the weekend, I had the privilege of experiencing this autumn tradition with a local as my guide.

On a sunny, clear Saturday morning we headed from Stockbridge to Race Brook Falls in the nearby town of Sheffield. Driving along route 7, I couldn't help but admire the colorful patches of foliage on the rolling hills. The landscape around me was a quilt of reds, browns, greens and yellows. When we arrived at a shoulder, we parked the car and headed along a section of the Appalachian trail leading to the cascading waterfalls.

The trail to the first of the four waterfalls was shaded by tall trees, whose yellow leaves created a golden canopy above our heads. The path ahead of us was littered with orange and red: I was looking at the world through an amber lens. When we reached the waterfall, I felt a sense of wonder, as if I was discovering something for the first time. I felt like a child again, who marveled at the mini waterfalls in the stream behind her back yard, imagining that fairies lived in the nooks and crannies of the rocks and between the exposed roots of trees. After taking a short pause for photos, we continued our journey to the second waterfall. However, rather than taking the longer conventional trail, my guide decided to show me a shortcut.

We were on a path less traveled, with no map or directions. Instead we let ourselves be guided by the music of the woods, making sure we could always here the splash of the falling water. Soon enough, we reached the top of the first waterfall and the base of the second. At this point, there was a clearing from which we looked out onto the horizon where the blue sky met the wavy colorful hills. It was in this moment when I truly understood why people were lured to this region by the trees. It is almost magical how these hills, which were so green only a month ago, have now exploded in color. We continued hiking until we reached the fourth and final waterfall where we stopped to catch our breaths and drink some water before making our way back down the steep path we had created.

Looking back on this journey, I realize that what made it so enjoyable was the fact that I was taken along it blindly. There are few voyages one can take without having at least some idea of what to expect. Whenever we plan visits to a certain place, we study the area to find out what there is to see, always having a goal or an idea of what we want to do. During this hike, however, I had no goal. I had no prior information about what I would see and where I would go. Untainted by photographs, or maps, I was given a unique opportunity to experience nature through virgin eyes. And that made all the difference. By placing my trust in someone who knew their way, I gave myself the opportunity to experience Mother Nature at her finest.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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