View Full Version : Monadnock

04-15-2010, 11:10 AM
Not a White Mountain Hike, but thought I'd share my story. Some of you may appreciate it : )

Mt Monadnock is the first 'real' mountain that I hiked. I think it's what got me hooked on hiking in general. I returned to the mountain about a dozen times in the last 15 years. Each and every time, about half-way up, I would curse and ask myself, "Why the %$# do I do this to myself!?!".

For those that haven't been, Monadnock is all rock. There is no trail to speak of. Just hoping from one rock to another, and across large slabs of rock. This is of course if you take the 'most direct' (aka, most steep) trail. Which is of course the only one I ever take! So, it's a calf burner if you're not in shape and don't do this all the time.

When I hiked my first 4000 footer, I was amazed at how much 'trial' there was. Ground, dirt in fact, that I could walk on and give the 'steps' a break. I loved it. I didn't know that mountains could be like this. I took a break from Monadnock for the next 7 years, not feeling that I ever needed to do it again.

Last weekend, itching to do something but not wanting to battle the post hole inducing snow conditions up north, we decided to return to Monadnock. We were curious to see if it would be as difficult and frustrating as I remembered. My friend, whom I dragged kicking and screaming up Monadnock the 1st time, was up for it so off we went.

The lot had cars, but not packed like it is in the summer and fall. There were a couple of buses, so we knew that screaming children was a possiblility. We headed up and were pleased with the mountain. It was not as painful as we remembered, and I credit this to my years of 4000 footers under my belt, and my continuous winter activity this year. As we went on, we passed lots of people, youth groups, and a lovely cub scout troop that were never explained the unwritten 'courtesies' of the woods. I chaulked it up to their age, and being boys, and held back the temptation to yell at them for jumping out in front on me onto the rock that I was planning my next step onto.

I told myself that i wouldn't be too hard on all those unexperienced, jeans and t shirt hikers with no water bottle and sneakers. This is, after all, how I started out. I suspect that many of us who weren't raised as hikers may have also started this way. We saw more unprepared hikers on the mountain, than we did prepared ones (or at least properly dressed ones), but that is what Monadnock is. I like to see their faces when they realize what they got themselves into. I cringed when I saw a group of teens filling their 10 oz. water bottles from a trickle coming down the mountain. I'm not that brave. I also cringed at the hoards of children who's parents thought this hike was a good idea but didn't feel the need to monitor them at all, or teach them any acceptable mountain manners.

Overall it was a great hike, and we were happy to see that it wasn't as hard as we remembered. I might even go back. Not during the summer by any means, as that crowd would have been way too much for my patience. But maybe this winter, on snowshoes or microspikes.