***On the Trail***
Catamount Hill was settled by non-native humans in 1800 and lasted as a community for 80-90 years until they couldn't take the cold winters and rocky land. Farming was very very hard in a place like this. McLeod pond is a 50 acre beauty of a pond, created 200 years ago to provide water for the new Community. The two main trails on the hill are east Catamount Rd, which has a few houses and Norht Catamount Rd, which has long since been abandoned by means other than foot or ATV or snowmobile.
There are other trails, but I can find no trail info on them, so that will be a bushwack, next time Bugs and I make it up here.
Catamount State Forest
After the Hill was abandoned by the settlers, the land was eventually acquired by the Power company, and then, in 1966, by the State of Massachusetts. Thank God for Land Trusts, is all I can say. The oldest Schoolhouse in the State is on the other side of McCloud, we'll get a picture of that for the next installment.
The Southwest end of McLeod Pond
The trail from the Northern tip of McLeod Pond heading to the southern end, passes along the West side of the pond. It also turns into a swamp, as Mother Nature slowly reclaims the trail, and the beaver change some of the landscape. So, here we are, two weeks later, approaching McLeod from the South on a trail that calls itself S Catamount at the beginning, near Charlamont Rd. This entire trail was once called N Catamount Rd, back when Catamount Hill was a farming community, and the foundation to the right was the local schoolhouse, 200 years ago. A strean runs right under the foundation; easier to get water. Amazing.
The hike to McLeod is uphill all the way, and at times rocky and steep. This trail is beyond 4-wheel travel; hiking and snowmobile access now. As you can see, you are above the snow line. There is none at the bottom of the hill. You are in the Pioneer Valley foothills. Welcome.
Like the North side, the trail is marked by huge boulders, house size rocks left 20,000 years ago as the Glaciers melted. I did not see any cave formations, like we did above. As we approached the Pond, the trail splits. The Northwest trail circles and brings you to north end, pictured at the top of the page. The east trail brings you to Stacey road, and the eastern edge of the Catamount State Forest. Stacey Rd is about 1 mi of maintained gravel road, and brings you to the trail entrance.
This is the dammed end of McLeod, and it's beautiful. Largs smooth rocks make natural resting areas, and I imagine that this is a great swimming hole. See you in June, Bugs and I will be reporting on our swim.