Sunday, October 9, 2011

Map & Compass Class in the Berkshires

Well my son and I made our way out to the western part of the state (MA) at 0500 for our 0800 class.

There was a chill in the air and virtually no traffic on the road. As we made our way to Pittsfield MA on Route 20, I turned to my left and saw the scene that I captured below. There were several people fishing for trout.

We had about four hours of class work that involved getting bearings, locating places on the map as the instructor gave us coordinates, etc. After a video, it was time to take our new found knowledge to the field.

We broke up into teams of twos so my son and I got our "assignment" and off we went. The exercise was to begin at one stake and then navigate through a field and the woods to seven other stakes. As we made our way through the woods, I managed to take a picture of the Housatonic River.

We were the second team out of eight to successfully find our way back to the instructors. We filled out our evaluation form, got our "patch" and off we went to head back home. Since we got out sooner than we expected, I decided that I was going to take in some of the views in this part of the state I had never been to before. The pictures below document a small segment of the Berkshires in the fall. I need to get out here more often. The state of MA does not do a good enough job of promoting this part of the state.

Laurel Lake in Lee MA

Laurel Lake

This is the same spot where I took a picture several hours earlier.

I had a fish follow my lure to the shore but the fish never took it.

Further down the Housatonic River

One of several fly fisherman on the Housatonic River.

The leaves are changing colors in Western MA.
Tomorrow I may head out to do some trout fishing at a pond near my house. My brother-in-law caught three Rainbows there today. Monday I think that I am going to head up to Plum Island and fish the mouth of the Merrimack River and see if I can get some of those stripers heading south. The weather is suppose to be beautiful.


  1. Congrats on not getting lost..... I need to take that class.
    Your right on that part of the state. It's beautiful. There are some nice brookie streams there. And also Arlo Guthrie... and Alice's Restaurant.

    Great photos Ed

  2. I agree. The state of Massachusetts should do a better job promoting the western part of the state. I seem to think everything west of 91 is another state anyway. It is beautiful up there. Thanks for the pics. I have never really navigated by compass on land before who was the class through?

  3. After you got out of class (congrats!)I thought you were going to say you got lost going home! Glad you did a little sightseeing. The Housatonic sure looks like good trout water.

  4. Thanks Alan....I wish I took this class all those years ago when I first found out about it. I am thinking that I might take the black powder class or bow hunting next. As for the streams, they are calling me. As for Arlo, Alice's Restaurant was a very good song but I love City of New Orleans. It is such a great song.

    Savage....I hate to say this but Bostonians think anything outside out Route 128 is another state. When I moved 15 miles north of the city my family thought I moved to another state. I can't wait to get back out there. I am going to hike Mount Greylock or do some fly-fishing. As for the class, there was a mix of people: a family with teen-age daughters, a couple of women, a married couple, one guy by himself, two buddies and my son and me. If you are in the woods for any reason, then it is a worthwhile course. The instructors all had 25+ years and were First Responder Rescue members so they were very knowledgeable and helpful. The field work cemented the class work. My son and I both thought just class work wouldn't have been as good.

    Hey Howard....that would have been funny. There really is only one main road so it is hard to screw it up. I have heard others say that the Housatonic is a good trout river. The Swift River and Connecticut River also are very good rivers to fly-fish out there. I hope to get back out there soon. Thanks for the congratulations on the class. It really was well worth the trip. It was nice to spend the day with my oldest son since I don't get that many days like that anymore.

  5. There's something about using a map and compass..GPS's are great but they just don't feel up close and personal..and western mass is terrific..

  6. PBM.....there is a scene from Deliverance and Bert Reynolds says........"machines are going to fail". That is my take about GPS, calculators, etc. One of my math professors drilled it into our heads that you have to know how to do math without a "machine" because it could break when you need it. GPS is just a natural extension of that thinking and that is one of the reasons I took the class.

    As for western MA, I agree it is terrific. It seems more people from out of state know more about it, then people from Greater Boston.

    Our governor has a mansion out there and maybe that is why he doesn't promote the area as much!