Monday, November 21, 2011

Hiking: A passion ignited on Mount Monadnock

When I moved to Massachusetts in August of this year, I already knew I wanted to take up hiking. Living in flat Florida just wasn't cutting it. I longed for long walks with payoff - the kind you get from reaching the summit.

At Monadnock's summit, October 2011
The first mountain I climbed was Mount Monadnock. It rises above southern New Hampshire to 3,165 feet and is visible on a clear day from my favorite hills in the Middlesex Fells and even as far south as the Blue Hills, where, from the bald top of Buck Hill, you can see it by looking northwest - it lies just to the right of Watchung Mountain on the distant skyline.

I first went to Monadnock with friends on a rainy day in September, but we were turned back by the slippery terrain just about a half mile up the two-mile long White Dot Trail, not even to the point where the White Cross Trail splits from it. But I went back later that week, alone, determined to make it to the summit.

When I made it just past treeline I was excited to find such an incredible view to the south. I could see Watchung, and the ponds of north central Massachusetts seemed to scatter in all directions just below my perch. I almost said, that's enough, and considered turning back for fear I just wasn't ready to go all the way. But something inside me said, no, you've got to try!

So I pressed on, and in just two hours almost to the minute, I made it. Here is what I wrote in my journal there at the peak:
Goal accomplished! Sitting atop Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire, the Western Hemisphere's most climbed mountain at 3,165 ft. elevation. Started at 12:20 today at the ranger's station at the bottom of the White Dot Trail, some 1,765 feet and about two miles below. Arrived exactly two hours later and am now optimistically dreading the descent. This hill is a bear! Steep, rocky and at points slippery. Plus, its trails are jam-packed with silly people talking about bull**** like jobs, real estate and the world of finance. Can't they see what's around them? Nature, friends, family. Why not talk of these things, and of love, or better, enjoy the silence? I wish only for some silence right now, but believe it or not it sounds like the inside of a bar - with the rush of wind the only natural vibration. Thank God for the wind!
Trail map, Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire
I took the White Cross Trail down, and at the bottom I felt like a victor. I overcame a great fear that day, and the success at Monadnock fueled my confidence to try longer and equally difficult hikes (Still, I have not had such a difficult hike as Monadnock, except perhaps my first ten-mile hike along the Skyline Trail in Blue Hills last week, which was longer and very rocky and rugged, but not nearly as steep for such an extended period of time).

I'm posting here the trail map of Mount Monadnock. I would recommend this hike to anyone. I saw children complete it that day, which isn't to say it is easy but rather to encourage you that you can do it! Just get out there and try!

No comments:

Post a Comment