Day Hike on Mount Monadnock
I see Mount Monadnock everyday in southwestern New Hampshire, while driving past Dublin Lake and a series of hairpin turns on Route 101 heading to and from work, but before a few weeks ago I had never seen the view from the top.
Alongside my coworkers, Heather Atwell and Heather Marcus, and the latter Heather’s two little girls (Ella and Lucy, ages 6 and 4 respectively, and with enough energy to power a small city), I tackled a day hike on Mount Monadnock on a recent sunny Sunday. We chose to hike the Dublin Trail, which begins at roughly 1,450 feet and climbs 1,700 feet over 2.2 miles to the summit.
The first quarter mile wound through heavy forest dotted with spruce and maple. Then things turned steep and narrow, with a lot more rocks, roots, and unpleasantly (thanks to the growing shade) buzzing insects.
At 1.7 miles we emerged above the tree line and were greeted by lovely views of Pack Monadnock and the Dublin Ridge to the east, Mount Kearsage and Dublin Lake to the north, and the Uncanoonucs along the north-east horizon. It made for a good snack stop.
With just a half mile left, we trekked on, and before long cairns (man-made piles of stones) started appearing, letting us know we were close.
Just a few more steps to the top!
Monadnock is often cited as “the second most climbed mountain in the world,”after Mount Fuji in Japan, and once you get to the top, it’s easy to see why. The view is panoramic and stunning in all directions, and because of its popularity, the summit turns into a high elevation hangout.
Individual hikers, couples, and families lounge on rocks, snap photos, and enjoy their hard earned lunch-with-a-view.
No hike is complete without pressing your foot onto the official U.S. Geodetic Survey marker.
Careful inspection reveals carvings in the rock showing the names and dates of highly motivated past hikers.
I was happy just to eat my cheese sandwich and pose for a quick photo before we started back down the Dublin trail (the D in D/M). I am not known for my love of hiking (although this is slowly changing), so it seemed important to document the event for those in my life who might question it.
We thought they’d be tired, but once again, the 6 and under set proved us wrong. Good thing mom didn’t mind carrying the extra backpacks.
It took us about 5 hours to hike Monadnock from start to finish, and I know my muscles appreciated the slow and steady workout, while my spirit was thoroughly refreshed by both the views and sense of satisfaction when I got to the top. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey