Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Solo to the Summit

July 12, 2018

When last week’s heat wave broke, I felt the need to get outside and move. What I needed was more than my usual early morning outing, which is an everyday necessity. So after Mom and I returned from Mass, I quickly changed, put some supplies into a small pack, and hit the road. Patrick wasn’t able to join me, so I headed north by myself (technically, it was northwest but let’s not quibble).

After an easy 90-minute drive, I arrived at Monadnock State Park. If anyone has wondered why New Hampshire is called the Granite State, a hike up the White Dot trail will provide all the evidence needed.

Rocky-trail

The trail is mostly a mix of rock- and boulder-scattered sections and sheer rock faces, all of which can be climbed without gear although not without a fair bit of scrambling. But that’s a big part of the fun.

The trail gets above treeline about two thirds (or maybe three quarters) of the way to the summit. The views, especially on a clear day, are spectacular.

monadnock-selfie

Along the trail edge and occasionally in the cracks between ledges, I discovered low bush blueberries. It’s still early in the season, which doesn’t really peak until mid-August, but it wasn’t hard to find some purple berries. Several were tart, but plenty were sweet.

blueberries

I pointed them out to a family resting nearby, explaining to the two pre-teens how to spot the leaves and berries. Having done a fair bit of hiking with my three when they were younger, I’ve learned it’s always helpful to have a goal — other than the summit — to keep them moving along the trail.

As I moved past them, I heard the mother tell the kids, “don’t eat anything of those berries or anything else you pick.” I resisted the urge to turn back and explain that I wasn’t trying to poison them. As my friend Kristen would say, “so many people to teach.”

The bare summit — 3,166 feet/965 meters elevation according to the rock carving — provided 360° views of the surrounding area: the White Mountains and Presidential range to the north east and, just barely visible (like a mirage that disappears and reappears), the Boston skyline to the southeast. In the video, you can hear the crows – or maybe ravens? – cawing as they rode the air around the summit.

I lay back on the warm stone, savoring the view, sounds, and breezes for a while. Then I enjoyed a snack and a few rounds on Sock #2 before heading back down.

sock-summit

You didn’t really think I’d leave home without my knitting, did you?!

 

 

 

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