The Mount Holyoke Range

A great travel article can make you rethink about the beauty in your own backyard. After spending four years in the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, reading Boston Globe travel writer Eric Goldscheider’s article Broad Perspectives, I have a new desire to hike the Mount Holyoke Range.

“The second half of the hike brought us into some new ecosystems, grassier and more open. It also brought a faster succession of ups and downs and a faster succession of outlook points, each with a new angle on the world below.

A small box attached to a tree contained a ”trail diary” and a pen in a zip-locked plastic bag. One entry from a few days earlier was from a parent ”hiking the trail with the boys, pretending we’re Native Americans surveying our land.” Another was from 45- and 50-year-old siblings who had hiked the trail together 30 years ago and were back to ”build new memories.”

At the bottom of the last descent, we crossed the access road to the Summit House. On our last climb, we passed grills and picnic tables arrayed on a partially cleared slope. There is also a memorial to a 10-member Air Force crew that crashed on the mountain on May 27, 1944. The exact location isn’t given because some of the remains were never found.

Many artists and writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry W. Longfellow, came to seek inspiration from and spread their praises for this dramatic perspective on the land, no doubt contributing to its popularity. Jenny Lind, the Swedish opera star who was also a pop culture figure, dubbed this mountaintop the ”paradise of America.”