Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hiking Mount Monadnock

2 Weeks ago, Daniel and I decided to take a last minute trip to Gardner, Massachusetts to visit my in-laws. I always love visiting with them and Gardner is just far enough away so that it seems like a mini-vacation. My Mother-in-Law also has an adorable tradition of leaving chocolates on the nightstand...this also makes me feel like we're on vacation. This visit was no exception, when we went to unpack our bags, waiting for us on the nightstand were two Dove dark chocolates. I opened mine on Saturday morning as a pre-breakfast snack, and I could not have received a more perfect fortune...
' Ok, Dove. I will. I will tempt my sense of exploration. We got to base camp of Monadnock around noon. It cost $10 per person for entry and to our surprise (and relief) they take credit cards! We completely forgot to bring cash with us. Opps! We took the White Dot trail up the mountain. The trail was well-marked, but also well-populated. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and there were the crowds to prove it. There were a couple of times when I just had to step aside and let people pass me because they were hiking so close behind me. I am all for being friendly, but this was a little too close. The trails were pretty wet and slick in spots due to days of rain and an abundance of leaves. It just meant that we had to climb a little more carefully. We stopped a couple times before reaching the summit.
There was some seriously gorgeous foliage! About 1/4 of the way up, the trail got pretty rocky and also steep at certain points. I was happy to have my hiking boots on. I was surprised to see so many hikers in running shoes. It made my ankles hurt for them.
I also couldn't believe that so many people were wearing shorts. It was a warm, sunny, October day, but temperatures were in the 30's at the summit. It was also really windy once you got to the top. Daniel and I were thankful that we had layers and bundled up.
We were going to take the Cascade trail on the way down, but decided that the Red Spot trail would be faster. We were wrong. The Red Spot trail was really steep and full of rocks. It took us a long time to get down since we really had to take our time on the wet rock surface. The mountain and scenery were beautiful, but Daniel and I were over the rocky surface and were thrilled to see dirt trail at the end. It was as if someone took all the boulders and rocks of the world and dumped them on the Red Spot trail. No good. When we got back from our hike, we showered and went over to the Gardner Ale House for dinner. Daniel and I split a soup, an order of sweet potato fries, and we each got a steak salad. It was really satisfying after our long hike. The best reward for our efforts were the homemade margaritas after the Ale House.
Every hike should end this way!

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