Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacationing in Southern New Hampshire

Mount Monadnock seen from our walk along Stone Pond Road

Hal and Nancy relaxing on the deck

Cabin seen from the edge of the lake

Rona, Nancy and Hal enjoying grilled cheese for lunch

Nancy and I arrived at Stone Pond in the early hours of Friday morning August 19, after a grueling ten-hour drive from DC. Friday was a lazy day – a morning swim, a walk along the Stone Pond road (see the view of Mount Monadnock from the road), relaxing on the deck, having lunch.

t rained Friday afternoon and evening, but the weather forecast for Saturday morning suggested that it could be a good day for a hike up Mount Monadnock.
View of Mount Monadnock as we drove to the trail head

Saturday morning was, indeed, sunny, so Nancy and I headed out early for the hike up the mountain, wanting to get down before the thunderstorms that were predicted for Saturday afternoon.  We chose the Dublin Trail for our hike, which ascends from the Old Troy Road at about 1420 feet up the north slope of the mountain. 

It was like getting reacquainted with an old friend – this was the trail we had chosen for Sam’s first hike up the mountain, when he was two and a half, and for Joe’s first hike at age two.  But  we hadn’t up that way for several years at least.  Most of our recent hikes had been up the Marlborough Trail, ascending from the west, or the White Arrow or White Dot trails ascending from state park on the south side of the mountain.

Although the trail was in many ways familiar, there were several improvements– a new parking lot for a new trailhead on the south side of Old Troy Road, a wooden walkway over one often-boggy area.   For several of the especially hard parts where it was a few feet to the next stepping place on the stones, intermediate rocks had been carefully placed so that short-legged types could make it more easily.  Many of the tree blazes had been replaced by nailed-in plastic reflectors, and above the tree line many of the blazes looked freshly painted.  In fact, about two-thirds of the way up we encountered a man repainting a big “D.”   We thanked him profusely for his work.

Paul with Pumpelly Ridge to the left

Paul with view down to Stone Pond
After about an hour, we reached the first viewpoint; Paul can be seen here with Stone Pond to his left, and then with the Pumpelly Ridge, a trail we have never taken but one that I very much want to try (it is always vetoed because it is the longest trail to the top). 

Paul and Nancy at the summit of Mount Monadnock

View to the north as we headed back down from the summit

Clouds over Dublin Pond
Nancy at the summit with clouds -- thunderheads?

After that we climbed through smaller trees and brush before coming out on the bare rocks, heading to the summit (3165 feet over sea level). When we reached the summit, there was crowd of maybe 75 or even 100 people, including many small family groups as well as a couple of groups of campers.  Monadnock is said to be the most climbed mountain in the United States, perhaps because it is within three hours of Boston and five hours of New York.  There are spots on the mountain named for Emerson and Thoreau, who were among the hikers who spent time on the mountain in the middle of the 19th century.

Nancy and I are both pictured at the top, along with some clouds that seemed to promise thunderstorms to come. We had a nice lunch of cheddar cheese, salami, fruit, and gorp.  
Paul emerges from Stone Pond while Hal sits on everybody's favorite rock

Mount Monadnock seen over Stone Pond

Then we headed back down to enjoy an afternoon swim; I walked around the lake for this nice view of the mountain over Stone Pond. 

It never did rain.