Diligence Everywhere We Look

Saturday, May 15, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 15: Lenox, MA, Stockbridge, MA & Great Barrington, MA.  The Berkshire Mountain area of western Massachusetts is a popular vacation getaway and is known as a center for visual and performing arts. The popular Boston Symphony Orchestra spends its summer season at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox. In nearby Stockbridge, the Norman Rockwell Museum houses a vast collection of the works of one of America's favorite artists. In his lifetime, Rockwell produced more than 4,000 original paintings.  He is best known for his illustrations of everyday life that appeared on the cover of Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than 50 years.  (Rockwell's painting studio in above photo)
Rockwell used live models for his paintings. He would show them the kind of expression he wanted them to exhibit. Then he would pay them two dollars for posing for him.  As he began to get older, Rockwell would hire a photographer to take a picture of people in the various poses, and then he would paint the illustration while looking at the photograph. The museum exhibits some of his photographs as well as paintings. Rockwell's studio is located next to the museum and open to visitors.

One of the letterboxes we searched for today took us to the location of an amazing beaver lodge near Great Barrington, MA. We were quite impressed to learn what talented engineers beavers are. Not only do they construct dams on rivers and streams so they can build their lodges in the resulting pond, beavers also create canals to float building materials that are difficult to haul over land.
Beaver lodge built by the engineers of the animal world
The dome-shaped lodge, which has an underwater entrance, is made by piling up parts of trees and filling in with mud to make insulation. Wolves and coyotes, the beavers' primary predators, find it too difficult to break through the complex network of branches and mud so the beavers stay protected. The preferred food of the North American beaver is water lilies, which they had a plentiful supply of here.

The pond was also home to some Canada geese.  Some Canada geese have become non-migratory and now pose a nuisance in many areas of the United States (and even in Europe and Asia as well).  Yet, as annoying as they may be, one cannot fault their dedication as parents. Once the female lays eggs, both parents protect the nest while the eggs incubate. During this incubation period, the adults lose their flight feathers, so they cannot fly until their eggs hatch after 25–28 days.
Raising kids is a job shared by both parents in the goose world.
Adult geese are often seen leading their goslings in a line, usually with one parent at the front, and the other at the back. While we were photographing the geese, the male was keeping a wary eye on us as we crept toward the water while the parents ushered their goslings away from potential harm.

Any time we are near the Appalachian Trail, Ken likes to take a bit of a hike on this 2,178-mile trail from Georgia to Maine. He has now hiked the trail in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts and hopes to find it again when we reach Vermont.
Ken hiking the Appalachian Trail
AT thru-hiker
Today we met a young man who is thru-hiking the AT from Pennsylvania to Maine. He hikes alone and has been on the trail for about a month. To maintain his supplies, he has packages mailed to him along the way. We had lots of  questions we wanted to ask him, but the day was getting late and he wanted to make another few miles before setting up camp for the night at Mount Wilcox, so we reluctantly bid goodbye and good luck.

  • Miles Driven: 85
  • Letterboxes found: 4 
  • High Temp: 65 degrees