I have been talking with a friend form church about getting the kids out on a hike. Finally, with the spring weather finally here and us having limited weekends left in MA, we set a date for 27 Apr and planned our hike to the top of Mt Monadnock just over the border in NH. Last year, we hiked Mt Greylock, the high point in MA. While Monadnock is far from the high point in NH, it is a very pleasant hike. I took my two oldest (Heidi 6 and Paul 4) and he took his oldest (Logan 4). I picked him up, we drove up to the trailhead while Heidi read her American Girl books (a very avid reader) and the boys watched Curious George on the DVD.
We had an initial plan to high up the Marlboro trail but when we got to the ranger at the start of the Old Toll Road, he advised us that the road to that trailhead was inaccessible. So, we threw the initial plan out the window and decided to take the Old Toll Road to the Halfway House Site and then the White Arrow Trail to the summit. The route was 2.2 miles up and had a few options for getting back down. At the end of the Old Toll Road, we stopped for our first (of many, food helps keep small hikers energized and motivated) snack breaks:
In the clearing at the Halfway House Site, we found this bench carved into a large rock:
After the Halfway House Site, the trail got steeper and rockier and we started to get glimpses of the peak:
Finally, we made it to the summit and celebrated with some lunch:
Mt Monadnock is advertised as the most climbed mountain in North America. We were not alone on the summit, as you can see here:
We finished lunch and exploring and started back down. We took the Smith Summit trail to the Fairy Spring trail down, which got us back to the Halfway House Site. Here is a view over the valley on our descent:
Here is a picture of Paul on a large boulder with his "I did it!" pose:
By the time we got back to the Halfway House Site, the boys were pretty pooped, so we took it easy on the Old Toll Road on the way down.
On the way home, we stopped at a small ice cream place in Northfield, MA to celebrate (no pictures, but I think Logan had as much raspberry on his face as he did in his belly).
All in all, the kids did great. We may have been a bit ambitious and bitten off more than we should, but they made it! Despite a little bit of whining on the descent, they were real troopers and had a great time. There is some nice hiking in the West Point area (Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain, Anthony's Nose, not to mention a short drive up the Catskills too) so we are looking forward to getting some more hiking in with the kiddos!