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My Kneecaps Hurt

As most of the regular readers of this blog know my big vacation for this year is going to be a trek in Nepal. I've been training for awhile now doing a bunch of different conditioning. I started off with cardiovascular on my bike trainer and doing the stairs at Harvard Stadium. I then rediscovered the beauty of hiking in the Blue Hills after a less than ideal hike up Monadnock. This weekend I returned to Monadnock for a much more enjoyable hike and then ventured up into the White Mountains.

The Blue Hills are close, but I can only do them so many times. In total for April I made 3 trips and at this point have covered most of the major routes. For my own records I think they broke down as follows:

  • April 12: 4.5 mile, 1300 feet gain, 1h15m, Red Dot / Skyline loop between the Trailside Museum and the Reservation Headquarters
  • April 13: 11.5 mile, 2450 feet gain, 4h, Skyline from the Reservation Headquarters to Shea Rink and back
  • April 20: 8.9 mile, 2300 feet gain, 2h45m, Skyline from 28 to 138 and back

April 6 was the less than ideal hike up Monadnock. As you can see we had foggy conditions, snow on the trail, and a fairly brutal summit with high winds. Given the trail conditions the lack of crampons made for some slippery conditions. We ended up doing just the White Dot Trail up and back: 3.8 mile, 1807 feet gain, 3h25m.

Yesterday I went back to Monadnock and ended up going a little peak bagging nuts. Since I was hiking solo I left my route with my housemates but I ended up deviating from that a little (see below), which was bad since I did get lost for a short while... All the trails were snow free and the conditions were excellent. Besides needing to put my jacket on for lunch at the summit, I was fine in a t-shirt and shorts. I've yet to find a trail map with inter link distances to get the tally, but my route was: White Dot Trail, Cascade Link, Pumpelly Trail, Monadnock Summit, Dublin Trail, Marlboro Trail, Marian Trail, Great Pasture Trail, Monte Rosa Summit, Fairy Spring, White Arrow Trail, Do Drop Trail, Cliff Walk (with a little side adventure losing the trail and getting lost on the south eastern side and then finding the trail again after scrambling up some rocks), Bald Rock Summit, Smith Connecting, White Cross Trail, Spruce Link, White Dot Trail. ? mile, ? feet, 4h30m.

Today I braved a 50/50 chance of rain (I lost) weather report and headed north to hike Mt. Pierce. The hiking was great but with the weather the way it was, I had no views. The sun started to poke through about half way down and the roads were dry by the time I got back to the parking lot. Compared to my other hikes this was a very deserted route. I met two other solo hikers on my way up and one couple on the way down. The lower portion of the Crawford Path up to the Mizpah Cutoff was mixed wet rocks and the packed snow route. Everything north on Crawford from the cutoff to the peak and back via the Webster Cliff trail and the Mizpah Cutoff was just the packed snow route.

The rain made the snow route a little mushy and easy to ascend with just my boots. Near streams that crossed the path the snow was starting to crumble and I dropped at least one piece of the path into the water as I walked over it. Stepping off of the packed snow path plunged you at least knee deep if not waist deep as I unfortunately found out during one misstep. Descending I had to put on my crampons to stay on the snow path instead of slip sliding my way down.

I didn't spent that much time at the peak (besides snapping a few pictures) since visibility was very limited. Instead I descended to the closed Mizpah Hut and ate lunch on the rocks outside. I'll definitely want to head back sometime when the views are better, probably as part of hitting some of the other nearby peaks. 6.6 mile, 2450 feet, 4h15m.

Tags: hiking