The Tuesday Night Hikes are a series of summer evening hikes at or near the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. We usually start them in late April or early May, and end them in late August or early September. Traditionally, we go to the cliffs at Mt. Tom, Easthampton, on the Tuesday closest to the summer solstice, and we finish the summer season with a canoe trip/cookout to Second Island, just upstream from Sunderland (although we've been rained out, winded-out, stormed-out, and low-watered-out the past few summers). Experience is not required, but it helps to be in reasonable walking shape. Some hikes are more strenuous than others, but we aren't doing technical rock climbing or anything like that here.
Me. I'm Bill Verts, one of your fearless leaders. To get on the mailing list with announcements for upcoming hike, news, pictures, etc., please send email to VERTS@CS.UMASS.EDU.
We meet at 5:45pm at the steps of the Student Union Building
at the University of Massachusetts (dependent on where the
current building and road construction happens to be any
particular summer - we often have to move our meeting place).
We wait for stragglers
until 6:00, then head out for the trails. Our target is
to be on the trails as much before 6:30 as possible, depending
on the distance we have to drive.
We are usually out until it is quite dark, so please don't
schedule late evening events if you can help it. Depending on
the trip, we may be back in town by 9:00, or we may not get back
until past 11:00.
Depending on when, where, and on which side of the Connecticut River the hike happens to be on, we usually go to Herrell's in Northampton, Bart's in Amherst, or the Sugarloaf Frosty in Sunderland for post-hike ice cream.
Depends on how stupid you want to be. We've had some very nice hikes in the rain, and we've cancelled on threat of thunderstorms. Generally we know enough to come in out of the rain (but not always). There is a tradition, though, that once per summer we can call off a hike on account of rain and lead a "hike" to Bub's Barbecue in Sunderland instead. When we actually go to Bub's, of course, is variable and weather dependent. Make sure you have $20 in your jeans just in case!
No, but if you can drive, please offer. We usually have enough cars to take everyone who shows up at the steps, but it is nice to have a surplus, particularly if some drivers want to go directly home after the hike and not return to UMass. You can leave your car on the UMass campus after dark.
There are a few hazards on the Tuesday Night Hikes, but most are pretty benign if you take reasonable precautions. Some of those hazards include:
We have never run into a bobcat,
mountain lions, wild pigs (tame ones, though), crazed axe murderers,
or anything of the like. We have seen deer, owls, chipmunks, hawks, snakes
(non-poisonous), other hikers (occasionally poisonous), porcupines, lots of
mosquitos, and we were escorted
out of the Quabbin one year by a pack of howling coyotes, but nothing
really dangerous. We did see a bear with cubs in the Quabbin once,
but she was more scared of the 18 of us than we were of her.
Most dogs are tied up when we go past. I wouldn't
worry about it. Don't be so tense.
(Actually, the one thing to worry about is the tick situation, or at least that's what weirds me out. Lyme disease is carried by the tiny ticks, but the big ticks are icky enough, and nasty when they bite you. I make the habit of using lots of bug repellent and tucking my pant legs into my socks on a "tick hike", then hanging my hiking clothes out on the back porch and taking a full soapy, scrubby shower afterwards. As long as you take care of the problem before it becomes a problem, you should be OK. Don't forget to vacuum the car out, too.)
The Tuesday Night Hikes have been a tradition in the UMass Outing Club for many years. I can remember attending these hikes back in 1982 or so, and I know they were going on for some time before that. I started attending regularly in the late 1980's -- Al Hough led them from 1987 through 1989, and except for the summer of 1993 when I coerced Jack Conrad into leading them, I have leading them ever since 1990. Lately, Al & I tend to more or less swap off (but he still thinks I lead them).
Ice cream after the hike has already been mentioned, as has the Mt. Tom hike on the solstice, the canoe trip cookout in Sunderland on the last trip, and going to Bub's on a rain-out. Some of the other traditions that we have developed over the years are: