After yoga, we all went to breakfast. Al Stoops would be joining us again for Summit day. The route would be via the Dublin Trail and I’d have to see what conditions were like up on top to see if it was okay to proceed. The Dublin Trail goes from the north side of the mountain and is about 2.4 miles long one way; so, 4.8 approximately round trip. Our GPS came out shorter, but frequently mileages are not the same depending on the source!
Some of the group opted out of the summit hike and I organized with Tiffany a morning tour of the covered bridges: they are interesting cultural icons of New England.
The Dublin Trail starts out moderately climbing through forest. We stopped frequently to check out the mosses, plants and trees that Al was pointing out. Even though fall is well advanced, the forests are alive with activity. We saw interesting varieties of fungi growing on standing and downed trees.
We took a snack break part way up the mountain to give us energy for the climb. The trail begins to steepen, and rock scrambles start. Part way further up, Tami opted to not go to the summit. She’d wait for us there. The group continued up, up until we started to get into the shorter, scrubbier trees. A winter-wonderland awaited us. The rain and misty air had coated the trees and portions of the rock with hoar frost – it was amazing. We picked our way carefully through the rocks, avoiding ice patches. Soon, we made the junction with the Marlboro Trail and from here we were on open granite, climbing all the way to the summit.
The group made it in three hours. It was cold and windy at the top. Yeti was almost being blown over as he took a video on the uppermost summit rock. Despite the weather, the views were quite good and unbelievably we could see the Boston sky-line. This is a first for me; it’s always been obscured by haze even on sunny “clear” days. Al helped point out some near-by and distant mountains including Gap Mt. and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west. Everyone took pictures and then we made our way down. Lunch would be when we met back up with Tami; she was in a sheltered area out of the wind!
After lunch, we proceeded down Monadnock, feeling great that we’d made it up and down in wintry conditions. Great hiking, great group, kudos to all!
We certainly earned our dinner. It was nice to have Maryanne join us all; she’d rested up and was feeling better. Afterwards, we convened in the Fireside Room for our “Homespun” event. I’d quickly put together some of the photos and videos from the trip and we all enjoyed a review of our adventures together. Yeti and I answered lots of questions about our thru-hiking treks and we all had a great time. What a terrific group. No matter the skill level, everyone tried their best and challenged themselves up to and beyond their comfort levels. And, everyone performed beautifully as a group, each encouraging the other just when needed. Thanks to all for your camaraderie.