Weather concerns prompted a decision to switch hikes around: we did Cliff Walk on Monadnock today and I moved the summit hike to Thursday, which looked like the best weather day.
Cliff Walk is probably the hardest of our hikes; it has a ladder, many steep scrambles, and big rocks to climb over before ending on Bald Rock. It was drizzling a bit in the morning, though later the rain stopped. Just enough to wet the rocks!
Al Stoops, a local naturalist/hiker, came along. He also is great with critter and plant ID, so we had some great lessons as we went along the Parker Trail before getting to the trail junction. Al always manages to find salamanders under rocks and this day was no exception.
The group negotiated the ladder with aplomb …. maybe with a bit of nervousness. It was slow going with such a large group and with the wet rocks we had to go very carefully. When we reached the junction of the Lost Farm Trail, we gave hikers an option to bail there and about half decided to go down. Tiffany and AL took that group down, Yeti and I went on with the rest of the hikers.
On we went, over Thoreau’s Seat, by the Wolf Den and Graphite Mine and we made the final steep scramble up to Bald Rock. Just as we got there and took a short break, the clouds lifted enough for a view of the summit of Monadnock. There were cheers as we reached our goal; it was a much-deserved shout out, as we’d had a hard hike up. We were quite late, so I was a bit worried at getting out before it started to get dark.
Our group also took the Lost Farm Trail back. It’s a steepish trail at first with rocky footing and wet leaves, but no scrambles. But that meant progress was slow and steady. We were all relieved when the trail evened out. Most of us were together, but Yeti was a bit behind with Theresa, who has arthritis in her knees and was in some pain. That lady has guts, she did not give up!
Well, the others got down at around 5pm and they took off for camp. We arrived back at the van after 6pm and didn’t get back to PP until 7pm. Luckily, the staff held dinner for us – it was delicious and boy, was I hungry. I ate my fill. It was nice that we had the evening free – we were all anxious to get cleaned up and rest! Tough day.