Each year, we welcome the advent of winter with a hike before the snow blankets our favorite trails. Blessed to live in the Southern Berkshireswithin easy access to so much of the iconic Appalachian Trial and with a wide variety of local trekswe have our choice of day hikes all year long. We try to get out as often as we can, but especially love when the trails grow quiet as the chillier weather sets in.
Nicolas, 12, and Dean, 10, are often joined by their 12-year-old cousin Abby. These are good ages. They are strong enough to take on more arduous hikes (with enough snacks packed in for sustenance), yet young enough to still delight in the wonders that abound across the seasons—whistles made of acorn caps, heart-shaped rocks to treasure, ringed wishing stones to toss into a stream, unusual leaves to take home and press between waxed paper. . . . And, once the ponds freeze over, the thrill of making stones sing across the ice.
It’s a marvelous sound, something akin to a laser’s whirr or maybe a finger run across the rim of a crystal gobletif you’ve never heard it, it’s a curiosity that begs experiencing. But the opportunity to skim stones on the ice doesn’t last long, a few fleeting weeks at most. Once the snow flies and the ice is covered, we’ll have to wait a whole year for the rocks to sing that elusive clarion call that heralds the clean and frosty start to winter.