I've been talking about climbing Mt. Monadnock for years. People insisted that it was an easy hike...that kids clamber up it all the time (they do). It is one of the most climbed mountains in the world and I wanted to add my name to the list. On a Saturday afternoon, I decided that I would tackle the mountain the following morning. I packed a backpack with the essentials: bug spray, sun screen, tons of water, snacks, and a first aid kid. (I like to be prepared!)
As Mt. Monadnock is over an hour drive from my house I woke up super duper early so I could get their by 8:00 am. I was psyched!
But I sprayed myself down with sunscreen and bug spray and headed off into the woods. My brand new hiking boots got dirty so quickly. (Did I mention I was doing a 2 mile round trip hike in brand new boots?)
At first the path was rocky but gradual. I was all, "I've got this."
And then it quickly turned into a rock climbing expedition. Kids were scampering up the rock faces and men were running down. But I just climbed slowly like a sloth.
I kept waiting for the "half-way" sign and eventually found it. I took a LONG break underneath that sign. I spent some time contemplating if I could really continue. It was taking me much longer than I anticipated and it was disgustingly hot. But I told myself that I didn't drive all the way there to climb to the half way point. So I continued on and soon passed the tree line.
A girl who walked by joked to her family that it was "Billy Goat" time. She wasn't kidding. I sat (in the sun) underneath this rock wall trying to figure out how I was going to scale it.
But the views were spectacular. And I had only just passed the tree line. There was a lot more to go!
I kept climbing and climbing but I was quickly running out of water. It was 90 degrees out and I could feel my shoulders burning as there was no more shade. I stopped at the false summit for a snack and took in the views. The breeze was amazing!
A little ways past the false summit, I took a break to assess the situation. I wanted to climb and climb until I reached the summit. I could see people crowded up on the summit and it looked so close yet so far. But the thing about climbing a mountain is that you still have to climb back down. I was exhausted and overheated and was quickly running out of water. So as much as I wanted to reach the summit, I decided it would be smarter to head back down.
Because of all the vertical rock walls I had to scale on the way up, I decided to take the "easy" way down. Haha...easy is a relative term.
Going down the mountain was the worst part of the hike. My quads were trashed and my knees didn't like the jarring rock steps. I felt like I walked down hill forever and ever. It felt like I'd never reach the parking lot. I was not impressed.
I finally reached the parking lot and headed straight for the air conditioned gift shop. I bought a super cold bottle of water which I downed immediately because I had run out on the way down. I was so dirty by the time I got to my car.
And I couldn't WAIT to take my hiking boots off and let my toes breathe.
Although I didn't reach the summit, I am so proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. I finally set out to do something instead of just talking about it. Yes, I should have picked a cooler day and worn more sunscreen, but I am glad that I persevered and made smart decisions. I will definitely have to revisit Mt. Monadnock in the near future and hike to the summit.