Daily Archives: February 6, 2011

Monadnock

Hikers:  Michael and Jill

Pics:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/61298689@N00/sets/72157625867421971/show/

Hike number 2!  Finally Michael and I were able to get out for a hike.  He’s had to work every weekend since I finished school so we haven’t had a chance to do much of anything together for months.  We were supposed to meet up with Agatha and Steve at Monadnock on Saturday but we cancelled due to the weather, we were supposed to get some mixture of rain, snow, and/or ice.  On Sunday Michael and I decided to head up to NH as the sun was out and the forecast was calling for sunny skies and moderate temps.  After chatting with the ranger we agreed that it was a good call to cancel Saturday’s hike.  The ranger said they were hit with an ice storm and as you can see from the pictures the summit was entirely encased with ice.  We decided to head up Cascade link to Red Spot to Pumpelly to the summit.  Originally we started out with microspikes but switched to snowshoes because even though someone had come through with snowshoes before us it looked like it was only one person and at some points I was sinking in up over my knees.  The snowshoes ended up being perfect as it was not icy but mostly just thick layers of snow.  There was an ominous dark cloud when I looked at the summit but for most of the way up the sky was blue and the sun peaked out a handful of times illuminating the ice on the trees making it look like the trees were sparkling with diamonds.  Once we connected with the Pumpelly trail visibility was reduced to about 20 feet and everything was gray, no sky or sun to be seen anywhere.  The cairns were all covered in ice and looked like little ice gremlins.  It’s a good thing we had tracks to follow as I think we would have been wandering around (at least I would have…) trying to find the trail under cover of all the snow and ice.  Everything looked magnificent and I took quite a few pictures.  Michael said I was “cambushing” him (translation – getting ambushed by the camera) and as you can see in most of the pictures he is hiding so it took us quite a while to get up the mountain because he stopped and hid every time I turned around with the camera.  There were quite a few people at the summit and I asked them whether to use microspikes or crampons on the way down and they recommended crampons.  So I put on my crampons, Michael used his microspikes and we made our way down.  Did I mention the wind was howling and it was frigid at the top????  Anyway as soon as we got below tree line I had to shed layers as the wind ceased and it was totally still.  I kept my crampons on but once we got to the White Cross trail it was just thick snow unlike the last few winter hikes where it has been one continuous piece of ice.  I would have probably been fine bare-booting from there but was too impatient to get down the mountain so I left the crampons on.  I would have actually preferred to scoot down on my butt but I did that at Greylock last year and it ended up being not so comfortable… Despite the lack of view at the top this hike was really fun.  Conditions are stunningly different at Monadnock every time we hike here so you never quite know what to expect.  I forgot to mention the man pushing his bike up the snowy road that leads to the base of Monadnock.  Michael and I talked to him the last time we hiked Monadnock but didn’t ask him how far he rode his bike to get there.  He stows his bike on the rangers porch, hikes the mountain, then rides back home.  We saw him again as we were heading down from the summit toward the white cross trail.  I’m guessing he has to push his bike most of the way up the access road so he must be pretty motivated to both ride his bike to the mountain and hike the mountain.  I wonder if he does this every weekend or every day year round… I will definitely ask him next time I see him! –Jill