Ramblin’ FeverBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, October 10, 2005
Adams – Who says it’s lonely at the top?
|Frank Wojnicki and his four-year-old son Patrick Wojnicki ambled the Mt. Greylock Ramble on Oct. 10.|
Mt. Greylock Ramble organizers who arrived at the mountain’s summit at about 6:45 a.m. on “ramble morning” were met by about two dozen hikers who’d braved darkness and dampness to climb the Cheshire Harbor Trail during what most would consider the wee hours, said Hayley Meczywor, chairman of the ramble sponsor, the Our Town of Adams events planning committee.
About 1200 people participated during the traditional Columbus Day holiday hike, Meczywor said. Previous rambles have lured over 2,000 people to the trail, but the heavy weekend rains may have caused concerns about trail conditions, Meczywor said.
"I know there was one year when the certificates ran out," she said.
The first 2000 hikers to complete the hike are awarded certificates of accomplishment; this year, about 800 certificates were left unclaimed.
There were no injuries or lost hikers reported by late afternoon when the Oct. 10 ramble concluded, Meczywor said.
From Far and Wide Came the Young and the "Harty"
Hikers hailed from locales including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Banich Hinbinder was recognized as the “rambler” who traveled the farthest; Hinbinder’s home is in Israel, Meczywor said.
The first registered hiker to complete the climb was Mitchell Ciempa of North Adams. The youngest hiker to complete the trek under his own power was Keegan Barrows, 2, of Stephentown, N.Y., and the oldest hiker up the trail was 84-year-old Thomas Harty of Orange, Mass.. Harty’s 85th birthday is in two weeks, Meczywor said.
The first 100 registered hikers to arrive at the summit were presented with free ramble sweatshirts. Food and beverages, t-shirts and sweatshirts were available for purchase at the summit.
Friends and Family
Scott Connors of Pittsfield and Carey Hinkley of Stephentown successfully ascended and descended the wet, muddy trail. Connors said he’s been a ramble hiker for about 20 years; Hinkley said he’s participated for the past five years. The two men began their climb at 9 a.m. and reached the summit at 11 a.m..
Scott Connors and Carey Hinkley are veteran "ramblers."
“We’re best friends and [the ramble] is a great time to get together and talk,” Hinkley said. “It’s a great walk.”
“The trail was a little wet, a little muddy, but not bad,” said Connors.
Connors and Hinkley said that the hike up was easier than the walk down because descending the trail puts more stress on knees and ankles, and slipping or falling is more likely when trekking down the steep path.
Frank Wojnicki and his four-year-old son Patrick Wojnicki tackled the hike together. The duo started up the hilly terrain at about 9 a.m. and reached the summit at about 11:30 a.m., Frank Wojnicki said. Young Patrick completed the hike on his own, his father said.
“It was really muddy, but it was a lot of fun,” Frank Wojnicki said. “It wasn’t as crowded as past years. And Patrick walked the whole way.”
Wojnicki said that the weather at the summit was fairly pleasant. The summit was shrouded in fog but the temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit and there was no wind, he said.
Adams Forest Warden Richard Kleiner said that as of about 1 p.m., there were no reports of lost or injured hikers.
“People seem to be doing ok,” he said.
Keeping It Safe
Kleiner and town police Officers Paul Lennon and Keith Erdeski were stationed at the trail base. Additional town forest wardens and some state park rangers were in place along the trail. At the hike’s end, rangers, wardens, and officers comb the Cheshire Harbor Trail and other nearby trails for stragglers or injured hikers before leaving the ramble site.
“We really have to thank the police officers, the wardens, and the rangers,” said Meczywor. “Without them, we couldn’t have a ramble.”
Nothing Like A Morning Jog
Shannon Witek, 13, Chris Carson, 13, and Chantel Zarek, 12, brought youthful energy to the hike. The trio began the ascent at about 8 a.m., and Chris made it to the summit at 9:30 a.m., about 30 minutes before Shannon and Chantel arrived. The friends were back at the trail base by just past noon.
Chantel Zarek, Chris Carson, and Shannon Witek tackled the Cheshire Harbor Trail during the Mt. Greylock Ramble.
“I jogged up,” said Chris, who is from Hawaii and is planning to return there within a few weeks. “I was up there with my hot chocolate when [Chantel and Shannon] got there. But I nearly fell down [the mountain trail].”
She was wet and muddy when she reached the summit, said Shannon.
“I changed my clothes at the top,” she said. “And my shoes are wet now.”
Chantel was the most experienced “rambler” of the three pals. The Monday hike was her third ramble, she said. Shannon said that this was her first trek up the trail.
“It’s my first time,” said Chris. “And since I’m going back to Hawaii, it’s my last.”
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.