NATURE TOUR: Tribute to Mount Everett – its glorious nature, enduring presence
Mt. Everett, The Dome of the Taconics. Photo: Judy Isaacoff
December 13-26, 2021
MOUNT WASHINGTON – The arch of Mount Everett, formerly known as the Taconic Dome, overlooks the wooded slopes of the South Taconic Range, our location in the Northern Appalachians. Evocative of images of planet Earth rising from a spaceship and experiences of moonrise and moonset on the horizon, up to Mount Everett arouses the feeling of being at home in the world. Residents of border towns where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet identify with the mountain’s constant presence and its changing appearance with the seasons. At 2,608 feet, Mount Everett is the highest peak in the South Taconic Range. It is the second highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, elevation 3,491 feet, which is visible from a north-facing lookout near the summit of Everett.
Mt. Everett is in the heart of the city of Mt. Washington, Massachusetts. As I thought about the name of the mountain, I learned that the city was first known as Mount Taghconic. It seemed to me that the Native American name for the mountain and town was more appropriate than that of distant white men. Regarding the mountain, a quick search turned out Edward everett (April 11, 1794 – January 15, 1865) worthy of this honor. Outstanding statesman and orator – influential during the time of Abraham Lincoln – Edward Everett was an “United States Representative, United States Senator, 15th Governor of Massachusetts (1835), Minister of Great Britain, and Secretary of State for the United States. -United. He also taught at Harvard University and served as its president. In 1841, Massachusetts state geologist and nationally renowned scientist Edward hitchcock (1793-1864) proposed to name our mountain Taconic for Everett. The inspiring statesman and his namesake mountain are a good match.
From the access to the Mount Everett Preserve Trail to Mount Washington, a climb to the summit of Everett is exhilarating as much for walking, or sometimes trotting, rock to rock, as it is an immersion in captivating flowering plants at the edge of the path, lichen and mosses. Near the summit, an east-facing outcrop invites the hiker to linger over a pastoral view of the valley fields and lakes of the Berkshires and the Litchfield Hills to the east. A sharp bend to the west engulfs the hiker in a captivating old-growth forest, with dwarf steps, with pines and holm oaks, a rare ecological treasure.
City of Mount Everett State Reservation Summit Resource Management Plan, DCR Massachusetts, March 2, 2006: “Offer the summit of Mount Everett the highest protection so that it can continue to serve as a first-rate natural laboratory for the study, understanding and appreciation of the pine community. dwarfs and associated flora and fauna and to afford the public on foot superb views of the mountains and valleys of South Berkshire. â
Mount Everett’s ecological significance extends to its function as a critical watershed for the tri-state region, another conversation. A brief summary of Everett’s place among the peaks can be found here.
Whether it’s a hike from East Street to Mount Washington or the Race Brook Falls Trailhead on Route 41 in Sheffield, each climb to the top passes through forests rich and rich in biodiversity. The breathtaking view of the summit is due west, stretching far north and south over the Hudson River to the scenic Catskill Mountains and beyond.