Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hiking of Herculean Hardships!

Ok, well the hiking wasn't really THAT difficult, but the title sounded pretty good, right?

As you may have seen on Journey of Will (you do read JoW, don't you, and if not, why not?), Elise, Sean, Mel and I went for a day hike up Mt. Monadnock in NH on Sunday. It was a beautiful day, cool, breezy and sunny. The perfect weather for a hike!

We set out pretty early and got to the trail around 8:30. There were already quite a few cars in the lot, so there were people already on their way up! Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world apparently, second to Mt. Fuji in Japan, at least that's what Elise's blog says and the internets don't lie!

The first 20 minutes were pretty rough, I quickly hit the "why the hell am I doing this again?!" wall, which I don't usually hit until a good hour or more into a hike, you know, just far enough in that you feel stupid turning back. This trail was one of the rockiest I have every been on, at least right at the start. Mt. Flume was the worst really, but that didn't get horrific until well into the hike, but the Monadnock trail did eventually smooth out a bit and walking was easier. Actually, the higher up we got the better the hiking was, which is contrary to my usual experience.

Once we broke the tree line, we got some great views:

As we got a bit higher, I came across some wild blueberries! I ate one, gave one to Elise and guarded the last two from some passing hikers, for Sean and Mel. It turns out that my diligence was not needed because about 5 minutes later we came across a nicely open area and a TON of blueberries, which I set to grazing upon. They were pretty tiny, but tasty!

Shortly after this little break we got to what we thought was the summit, only to find that the true summit was pretty far off...

If you look really closely, you can just make out some specks that are other hikers! We still had some trekking ahead of us. This part of the mountain was set ablaze a couple hundred years ago for some reason or another, then once that was done, they decided to do it again for good measure. So there are very few trees past the ones in the pic above. This made the top section of the mountain really windy. But there were more blueberries to give us the strength to carry on.

Once we finally got to the top, with the nearly 2 dozen others already up there, there were some astounding views!

...and one of me! So jaunty!

What you probably can't see in the pic is that there are dozens of names and dates carved into the stone at the top. Some I found dated to 1880! Many of them were too eroded to read anymore but it was pretty neat. The practice is discouraged now, but I did see one name in sharpie from 07. Sharpie? Really buddy? Guh.
Well anyway, we had lunch and rested then headed back down. The trail down was pretty decent, but there were a few difficult rock scrambles. Aside from that it was mostly uneventful.
We got back to the cars and had a long exhausted drive back home.

All in all it was a great day out, and a highly recommended hike! If you haven't checked out Journey of Will, Sean and Elise both have some alternate pics up.

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