Berries abound in the copious clearings opened up by logging in the not too distant past, though in the most recently cut sections, the birches are filling in and growing fast. Wild strawberries and edible (but tart) partridgeberries creep along the forest floor. While poisonous red elderberries complement canes of raspberry and blackberry which have been slowly diminishing through the years but are still making a strong showing near the summit.
Early in the summer, grouse will nest in the more open areas next to the old logging roads which in themselves form a vast network across South Hill. If you come too close (which since they’re so well hidden is hard to avoid) the grouse will charge feigning a broken wing as a diversion tactic while the chicks scatter in a chaotic frenzy of peeping, while the mom flies to a new location and calls them forth. If you mountain bike enough around these parts, this will become an early summer ritual. The first time it happens, however, might be somewhat perplexing. Eventually you’ll put two and two together and figure out this is what all the drumming was about in spring. (The best drummer always gets the girls. Doesn’t this remind you of high school?)
As the summer deepens, it can make for a ride that is simultaneously painful and sweet. We cut the canes back as far and as fast as we can, but in the height of summer it seems they often grow as quick or quicker than we can chop, and there is simply not enough time when there is so much prime terrain to be developed. But if you’re good with a weed wacker or a machete and have been itching to contribute, here’s your chance!
We fluctuate through periods of heat and humidity (when admittedly many riders seek out flatter environs, or a water hole!), storminess ( you don’t want to be stuck mid-Fuster’s in severe weather!), or mild, breezy days when the lots fill with riders determined to reach the sublimity of Shrek's.
Of course, trail users are not the only ones who appreciate the incredible beauty of Pittsfield’s harmonious mixture of the sylvan and the pastoral, and events abound at Riverside Farm. Weddings, races and other events are a frequent, often weekly, occurrence, but don’t despair. Though Riverside parking may close temporarily, the trails almost never do. There are several other trailheads and a number of other parking options to consider.
Where there are berries, whether you are lucky to see one or not, there will be bears and other critters fattening up for the fast approaching Vermont winter. With plenty of food, water, space and places to den, a handful of bears call GMT their home.
We’re honored to accommodate them along with a large array of wildlife. If you don’t want to startle them or you don’t want to be startled, bear bells are a good idea this time of year. Unlike their more aggressive brown cousins, they are among the most timid mammals out there and will almost certainly bound out of your sight as soon as you see them.
We transition from trail maintenance into building new ones or enhancing old ones through trail projects. The vegetation grows fast, especially in the substantial stands of young forest, and we need to cut back the brambles once every several weeks.