*To be read with a touch of sarcasm, wherever you see necessary.
I was under the false impression that I could sleep in a bit this morning before heading out to hike. Thanks to daylight saving time, I didn't really get that much extra sleep. Oh well.
I hit the road west this morning...that's strange. In no time I was cruising through western MA on the way to Mt. Monadnock. It's not in the Whites and it's not even 4,000 feet! Why would anyone go here?!
After hiking Adams and Madison on Tuesday, my White Mountain desires were completely fulfilled (for the time being) and I was looking forward to a shorter drive and a break from "peak-bagging." It was a nice change of scenery to cruise through the scenic country roads of western MA and southern NH. To my own surprise, I even enjoyed the Sunday morning country oldies on the radio! (My personal favorite being "If you're gonna play in Texas you gotta have a fiddle in the band") < Not to be read with sarcasm! Those were some good tunes >
Anyway, anyway, before I knew it I was on the White Dot Trail heading to the 3165 foot summit. Though I was hiking solo, I had plenty of company with the crowds of jeans-and-sneakers hikers.
Some of the white dots were inconveniently placed...why does it have to be all the way up there? You mean I have to climb this mountain?
I believe this to be Mt. Wachusett, the highest point in eastern Massachusetts
An attempt at being artistic...it's rare that my camera and I agree about how a scene actually looked...oh well, it was worth a try
A nice panorama
It was a pretty nice day to be out. Nice views above timberline. Spring conditions were non-ideal, but what else is new? Spikes on, spikes off, spikes on, spikes off....at least I remembered my spikes! It seems like spring fever caused many hikers to forget theirs at home.
Nearing the top
As I stepped onto the summit, I was immediately greeted by a talking head. I received my own, personal, unsolicited advertisement for "Mt. Monadnock, the movie." This woman must have practiced...she even gave me a business card! And I thought I came hiking to escape all the commercials.
After a round of "Did you know such-and such about Mt. Monadnock?" from the talking head, I was able to take a look around. I pulled my camera from my pocket to snap some shots of the view, and the business card I had just been given was taken by the gusting wind and blown off the mountain! So much for Mt. Monadnock the movie...
Many ski resorts were visible, which I assume are in Vermont.
I lounged on the summit for nearly an hour. The crowd grew shortly after I arrived and never stopped growing. I found a nice spot out of the wind in the "pit" on the summit. As the winds grew, it became apparent that others were envious of my spot.
"Looks like you got the best seat in the house," one remarked.
"I think so...I see everyone up here is staring at me," I replied.
I spent a few more minutes enjoying my wind-free corner, then surrendered it to the crowds to spar over.
The best seat in the house on a windy day
I reluctantly began my descent. The White Cross Trail was supposed to be the "least steep" alternative, but I found it to be particularly difficult with the spotty ice and snow.
I tried to go as long as possible without putting on my spikes. Inevitably this plan backfired and I took a pretty good fall. By pretty good fall I mean that I was laying flat on my stomach sprawled across the ice.
Falling can actually be sort of fun...mostly because it always happens in slow motion. After hitting the ground, I was perfectly happy just to lay there for a few seconds, but according to the second rule of Falling While Hiking (the first being "Falling shall always occur in slow-motion"), other hikers will always appear on the scene the moment you fall, regardless of if you were alone the moment before.
I tried to scramble to my feet but it didn't work.
"Pretty icy," I remarked to the approaching hiker.
Having learned my lesson, I put my spikes on and completed the descent without issue. I thought the White Cross Trail was a pretty steep descent and my knees were pretty sore afterward. I think in the future I'll visit some of the long, more gentle trails.
Beautiful day to be out...spring is definitely around the corner.