Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mt Monadnock - The Usual Suspects

We've had such and incredible run of great hikes - capped off by Carrigain less than two weeks ago.  There should be NOTHING to complain about - BUT...  Fall is our favorite hiking season.  We had a taste when we were up north for Carrigain, but colorful foliage in the rain and fog is not the hoped for fall experience.  The weather pattern the last couple of weeks has just been plain depressing.  How about a bit of blue sky, sunshine and crisp autumn air to show this season off?  When I looked at the forecast for today and saw the prediction of those clear blue sunny skies I couldn't let it pass.  We were overdue for our annual visit to Mt Monadnock, and this was the perfect opportunity.  Monadnock is really a wonderful mountain and has the advantage of only being 2 hours from home.  It's even better in the fall, since the drive is really beautiful too.  The potential problem is the crowds - but we've long since solved that with our selection of favorite "off the beaten track" trails - The Usual Suspects.  It was great to revisit them today.  We virtually had the mountain to ourselves, seeing less than a dozen people the whole day with the exception of those on the summit.  I've described the trip before so I won't go into it again.  I'll simply say that it was the perfect way to spend a spectacular autumn day.  And for the first time we didn't manage to take a wrong turn through the somewhat confusing maze that is the White Arrow, Amphitheater, Sidefoot, Smith Connector, Cliff Walk, Lost Farm trails.  So here are some images of the day.  I wish they were better able to convey how spectacular it really was.  This is why we love fall so much...

Oh, one more thing.  I had my first chance to try the Guthook Hiking Guide for Monadnock today.  Really nice app!  Looking forward to more local versions coming soon.  Hint, hint Ryan :)  Check it out here:

Fall colors on a beautiful morning

Cascade on the Cascade Link

Blue skies ahead

Views to Pack Monadnock from the Spellman

iPhone pano

Nat heading up the Spellman steeps

Views back across the Pumpelly

Valley views along the Pumpelly ridge

Reflections in a tarn

Nat heading for the summit

Colors changing on the ridge

Steep going on the way down the White Arrow

Bald Rock ahead

Looking back to the summit

Fire along the trail

Pack Monadnock in the distance from Bald Rock

Summit from Bald Rock

In case we didn't know where we were

Touching the sky

Lovely walk in the autumn woods on the Lost Farm trail

Colors in the stream

Reflections of the day in Poole Reservoir

Must be October in Jaffrey

The only disappointment of the day was the when we arrived at Kimball Farm for our post-hike ice cream cone we found them closed for the season. :-(   Isn't this New England?  Just because the weather is getting cold it doesn't mean we don't still eat ice cream!!


  1. Mark, just two brief comments as follows. Love your photo entitled "Colors in the stream", and wow . . . the Spellman Steeps appear to be very aptly named!


    1. Thanks John. The colors on the trees were somewhat muted but those on the ground (and in the water) were quite pretty. That spot in the stream particularly caught my eye. Glad you liked it. As for the Spellman, it's described as "the most difficult trail on Mt Monadnock". The description of the steepness and precipitousness had me intimidated until we finally tried it. I think we've gone up that way 5 times now and it's definitely our favorite route. It's just a straight-up scramble, but with good footing and plenty to hang on to. Lots of fun! It also has the advantage of being one of the least used trails (as are the crazy combination that I mentioned we use on the way down) which means that even on the typical day where the mountain is crawling with hikers we can go the whole day and see hardly anyone other than on the summit.


  2. Looks like a great hike. Nice pictures to illustrate it. Understand your weather feelings - we have had many rainy days too - more predicted.