At the trailhead
I’ve been talking to the kids about hiking mountains, lately. We had gone on a short hike while camping a couple of weeks ago & that had been met with mixed reviews. But, it was just a hike through swamp land, and over a couple of brooks. It was not challenging. Nor was it particularly interesting for a 9, 7, & 5 year old. So, I had told them about my recent hike up Mount Monadnock, and tried to gauge their interest. The boys weren’t really hearing any of it. But, Syd was interested.
As it turned out, Syd had a dance exhibition she was going to be performing in back in Gloucester, MA on a Saturday night. It was not going to be finished very early, and the boys already wanted to stay back with my parents and enjoy a party with their cousins. So, it was easy to convince the girls (Syd & Drea) to go hiking on Sunday.
But, because it was the last day of my week with the kids, I didn’t want to be away from the boys ALL day. So, the disconcerting caveat to my loves-to-sleep-in girlfriend was that we’d be up EARLY. So, on Sunday, July 17th, I was up at 5, prepping sandwiches and water bottles. (Snacks had already been put aside the night before.) At 5:20, I rousted the ladies and we were off and running by 5:45. We got to the mountain at about 7:15 and were hiking by 7:30.
Since I had some recent history with the mountain, I decided to attack the Halfway House Trail, to the White Arrow Trail for a nice, but challenging 4.4 mile hike. Particularly the last bit of the White Arrow Trail. It is steep & technical. But, Syd has been dreaming of rock climbing. So, I figured I’d give her her chance.
On the way up, we stopped for a quick water break at the Halfway House Site. Then, the fun of the White Arrow Trail began. Syd & Drea were troopers and both did excellent. Once things got technical, we stopped for a snack break. And, as these things go, we stopped about 100 yards short of a spot that would have had a nice view. Oh well.
But, after we passed that out cropping, we started getting out of the trees and into the real rock climbing. Syd was having a blast & even pretended to go “surfing” at one point. She was definitely getting tired towards the top & her and Drea began making fun of my distance estimates. For much of the way up, Drea had also dubbed me “Tour Guide Scott.” Apparently, she thought it was funny that I had read up on the mountain after I had hiked it the first time. But, hey! The mountain has an interesting history & I thought I’d share it.
Once on the summit, we found a nice spot to relax, enjoy the views, and the breeze. We ate our sandwiches and soaked up the rays. Syd explored a little bit, walking around the summit, and pulling herself up on rocks that she wasn’t sure she could.
At the summit
On the way down, Syd was in rare form. It was pretty clear the endorphin high had kicked in. She was being a little comedian and making jokes at my expense with quite a bit of frequency. It was actually quite funny.
Both Drea & Syd were getting pretty tired & complaining that their legs were burning. We stopped for a water break just before the Halfway House Site. Then down onto the Halfway House Trail & back to the car. We were done & Sydney had completed her first ever mountain hike. She was happy with it. She said she liked it. And, when I asked if she would do it again with me, she responded, “Well, not right now!”
Then we drove over to Kimball Farms & had, by far, the largest ice cream cones I’ve ever been served. We didn’t manage to get pictures of them because our hands were so full. But, trust me. We ordered the small size cones and they had to have about 4-5 scoops of ice cream piled on them. The “kiddie” size that we saw some other people get had about 3 scoops! Crazy! But, it was pretty yummy. The girls each got a mint variety. I went with strawberry. The strawberry wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. Next time, I’ll try a different flavor.
All in all, a great hike with my two girls. I can’t wait to get Syd back out there. And, Drea… she maybe hiking again before she realizes it.
- Date: 7/17/11
- Elevation: 3165
- Elev Gain: 1807
- Mileage: 4.4
- Trails: Halfway House Trail -> White Arrow (& same return)