Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wapack Art Museum and Hiking Trail

Did you know that there is such a thing as Fluffernutter ice cream?
There is.
And it is a glorious thing.

But before you can get the ice cream, you must suffer.

So, it must be hiking season!
(Spoiler alert - it IS hiking season.)

Today, my darling daughter, Tori, forced me from my coffee and comfy chair on our back porch and made me march for miles through a bug-infested art gallery cleverly disguised as a hiking trail.

I was only smiling because I was thinking about ice cream.
We started up a trail that was cleverly named Cabot Skyline Trail, which would give one the impression that it should offer views of, perhaps, the sky.
(Spoiler Alert - it did not.)

Unlike some of the hikes that I have survived in the past, this one was not a 4,000 foot vertical climb straight up into the sky.

In fact, it was a gradual ascent that constantly promised to open up into a spectacular panoramic view and the constantly failed to make good on that promise.

There were a few scenic spots along the trail.

A Ladyslipper. The flower; not the actual footwear.

Scenic view of another mountain with better scenic views, most likely.

Tori looking longingly at the mountain with better views.

Mount Everest, I think. Or maybe Mount Mondanock. I can never tell them apart.

Okay, honestly, this was the most beautiful part of the trail. It was a lovely stroll along the ridgeline.

What I quickly realized is that there are no scenic views of wide, sweeping vistas. 
There are only a few spots where you can see anything other than trees and nature and stuff.
And if you actually try to pay attention to anything other than your feet while you are hiking, you will fall like this poor sucker did.

That is the long, sliding footprint of some unfortunate hiker who attempted to look up for a minute and then slipped in the mud. His last words were most likely, "Whuuuuuhhhh! Ooooffff."

Tori pointed that footprint out to me as a cautionary tale and while I was looking at it and congratulating myself on how careful I am, I discovered that I was standing in a jungle of poison ivy. 

Ha ha, nature. You win.

It seems that the people who maintain this section of the trail realized that it was in need of some visual excitement so they installed an entire art gallery of cairns for us to enjoy.
(Spoiler alert - cairns are piles of rocks.)

The trail map, graciously provided by the Friends of the Wapack Trail failed to include gallery notes on these art installations so I have taken it upon myself to collect notes to share with you.

Here are some highlights of the gallery tour:

Title: Big Pile of Rocks
Medium: Rocks

Title: Really Long Cairn
Medium: Rocks

Title: Stunt Cairn
Medium: Rocks

Title: Cairn with Tori Face
Medium: Rocks. Face.

Title: Huge Pile of Rocks Hiding Young Lady
Medium: Rocks. Young Lady.

Title: Buddha Cairn
Medium: Rocks. The Sound of One Hand Clapping.

Title: Double Cairn
Medium: Rocks. Patience.

Title: Tori! Stop Photobombing My Pictures!
Medium: Rocks. Hilarious Daughter.

Title: Sloppy Cairn
Medium: Rocks. Carelessness. Apathy.

Title: Little Cairn
Medium: Rocks. Ambition.

Title: Maybe a Cairn. Maybe Just a Huge Pile of Rocks.
Medium: Rocks. Mild Confusion.

Title: Cairn Starter Kit
Medium: A Rock

Title: Useless Cairn
Medium: Rocks

There were certainly more cairns, but these were definitely the highlights. I snapped quick pictures as I barreled down the mountain to get back to my car so we could go get ice cream, which is, of course, the only reason anybody ever hikes.
That, or the rocks.

Tori dived in the passenger window as I peeled out of the parking lot, fishtailing wildly across the road on my way to Ollie's for ice cream.
I'd never been to Ollie's, but I knew they served ice cream.

Served. Past tense. Ollie's is out of business. And, presumably, out of ice cream.

(Spoiler alert - Ollie's spoiled my day by being out of business.)

We managed to find another ice cream stand which, as I mentioned earlier, serves Fluffernutter Ice Cream which made it all worthwhile.

Until the poison ivy rash appears.