Monday, August 30, 2010

I (Almost) Climbed Mount Monadnock

Wikipedia says that Mount Monadnock has long been known as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. I believe it is second to Mt. Fuji, but it is the most climbed mountain in North America.

We recently stayed over a few nights in New Hampshire after picking Amanda up at camp, and my husband couldn't resist.

The pragmatic (oh yeah -- and lazy and out of shape) me said, "It's almost 2 1/2 miles up the mountain. And then we have to get down. That's a long way for me the kids to hike."

The 2.4 miles was pretty much straight up. It was fairly rocky in places, which was not too hard to get up, but is always a little scary to go down. Amanda actually loves that kind of hike. She still talks about a hike that we took when she was just a little older than Kyle. Terry and I weren't quite sure we were going to make it back down. We were at Macedonia Brook State Park. The hike up was fine. The views from the top were amazing. But on the way back down, it got very cloudy, and so though it was still late afternoon, it got a little dark. Kyle was one, and Terry was carrying him in a backpack, which made those steep declines even harder to navigate. The dog was with me and Amanda, and she didn't even want to go down some of the ledges. We were on pins and needles the whole time coming down.

So Amanda was happy to relive her mountain climbing days by tackling Mount Monadnock.

Since the incline was fairly steep, and I haven't been hiking in a while, I seriously thought I might have a coronary. I had to stop to catch my breath after each steep ascent. This always irritates Terry, who nudges me, "Don't stop in the middle -- you can stop at the top of this piece." But there was never a top, and I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest.

After an hour and half of pretty steady hiking (with some breath-catching breaks), we reached a big clearing with a gorgeous view. We were almost there!

"I don't think it's much further. If you just want to wait for us here, you can," Terry offered up.

I accepted, taking a nice rest on a big flat rock with a gorgeous view. It was a bit further up than he thought, because it took an hour for them to make it back down to me (which was okay with me).

On the way back down, Amanda and Terry blazed the trail. Kyle was one of the youngest hikers we saw up that high, and got a few kudos from other hikers about making it up there himself. However, by 2:30 or so -- 3 hours in (with rests and time to check out the view), he was done. He was whining, crying, and tired. He kept wanting to just sit down.

However, unlike me wanting/needing to rest on the way up so that my heart didn't explode, he was just tired. We still needed to get down, and it wasn't going to happen if he was resting at every pace. I wasn't having any trouble with the descent, and he's still pretty light, but there was NO way I was going to make it down if I carried him.

So I tried to be patient as he cried, "See, this is why I do not like nature," every time he tripped and stumbled, which was a lot, because he was tired and not paying attention. "Nature is hard."

I kept congratulating him for his feat of climbing the mountain and acknowledging that three hours of hiking is a lot, and that he had to keep going so that we could get down.

Finally Amanda and Terry were waiting for us, so Terry was able to carry him down the last 15 minutes or so.

Three and a half hours and 4.8 miles later (maybe 4 miles for me), we were back in our car. Half an hour after that, after waking the 6-year-old who fell asleep in the car, we had our reward:


morninglight mama said...

Nature can definitely be hard. (Man, your son says the BEST things!!) Give him props for me- that's a huge accomplishment, especially when you're an exhausted kid! :)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

We love vacationing in NH! We went there 2 years ago and hiked (very small trails since I was 6 months preggo with Sam) and looked at waterfalls.

Dianne said...

very cool. i've been in the mood to go hiking, just don't know anyone to go with. and i really want to go to new england this fall - your pictures confirm that desire!!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Good for you!! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have survived. :) I love poor Kyle's "Nature is hard." I agree!