So, I’ve been itching to get out and hike a mountain, or two, or 100 (see previous post). I’ve been itching to do it with the girl. I’ve been itching to introduce my kids to it. I’ve just needed to do it.
I had hiked it once with the boyscouts back in the day. I remember being told that it was one of the clearest days ever. You could definitely see Boston, and I have a recollection of seeing the white cap of Mount Washington (which I have yet to climb). I did some quick reading the day before & read up on a route that should provide the least amount of traffic.
I got there about an hour later than I wanted to. (Drea’s stupid bed is so fucking comfortable.) But, I still got to the parking lot about 8:15 and there were only two cars in the lot. Had to spend a few mins calling the kidlets, and paying the hiking fee & started up the Old Toll Road around 8:40. The road started the incline right off the bat. If my eyes weren’t telling me that, my breathing and heart rate certainly were. Soon enough, I came upon Parker Trail & hopped on that. This was more of a single track stroll through the woods. I didn’t see any boot marks and I slipped through plenty of spider webs to suggest that I was the first one taking this trail today.
I then hopped onto the Cliff Walk trail which started ascending the mountain again. This trail was very well marked and had some nice vistas along the way. I saw a deer track on it once, but never did see any wildlife much larger than chipmunks. I came upon my first human descending the mountain while on Cliff… at least, I think I was on cliff. Because, shortly after I passed her, I noticed that I hadn’t seen any blazes in a bit. But, I was clearly on a trail. Hmmmm… And no map. I had memorized my route pretty well, but somehow I felt I was on the wrong trail. After a short descent, I came upon an intersection that told me I had just descended the Surprise Trail. And, given that it was a surprise for me to find myself on it, I had to agree that it was appropriately named. I recognized the Thoreau Trail & hopped that back up to Thoreau’s Seat back on the Cliff Trail. So, a bit of a diversion, but no worries. I sat on Thoreau’s Seat and enjoyed the scenery and a plum for a bit.
Somewhere around here, I noticed that there was an old New England farm wall. I found it surprising that it had been built that far up the mountain. It was just another reminder that those bastards had it tough.
Anyway, I then took Cliff up to Bald Rock, where I paused to apply some sunscreen, and saw my second person power walking on past me. And, then hopped onto the Ampitheater Trail over to the White Arrow. I was definitely feeling the burn here. I remember thinking that my body was trying to tell me exactly how out of shape I really was. (As if I needed a fucking reminder.) But, I climbed up those bolders and reached the summit… to find about 40 people up there. Not exactly an opportunity for a moment of solitude.
Still, I found a place to sit, enjoy the view, and some well deserved food. I made a mental note to get some sort of hydration bladder for my pack. Stopping to fish out my water bottle from the pack was really annoying. I also tightened my boots a bit more. I felt like my foot had been moving around a bit too much. I took a couple of shots of the view (maybe I’ll post them later), & then got ready to head on out.
The way down was considerably easier. Plus, the sandwich & second plum had really done a nice job replenishing me. I made a note to eat more than a single eggo with PB before heading up another mountain side. On the way down, I did the White Arrow Trail. It was fun going from rock to rock the entire way. I saw a father, with a kid on his back hiking up. I don’t even want to think about doing that. That’s not like carrying a regular pack. Kids move. Plus, I was scooching on my butt several times. Can’t imagine having to account for a baby/toddler’s legs too. I also came upon three girls (8-10) hiking up with their mothers. The girl I came upon first exclaimed, “I’m in rock climbing heaven!” I finished up on the Halfway House Trail & felt great that I had finished my first mountain hike in who-knows how many years.
I can’t wait for the next one.
- Date: 7/5/11
- Elevation: 3165
- Elev Gain: 1807
- Mileage: 5.7
- Trails: Old Toll Road -> Parker Trail -> Cliff Walk -> Surprise Trail -> Thoreau’s Trail -> Cliff -> White Arrow. Down: White Arrow -> Halfway House