Monadnock - Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The day began again with Awakening Yoga at 7:00am which I held in the beautiful chapel nestled in the trees. Breakfast followed at 8am. The plan for today was to pack up our lunches and go over to the Park Headquarters where we’d pick up the Parker Trail that leads to the Cliff Walk.

Al Stoops was our co-leader. He’s a great hiker and fabulous naturalist and outdoor educator. It’s always a joy having him along. We had discussed focusing on autumn foliage and trees, as well as any other critters we could find along the way!  We did stop by Hunters Rock and he gave us an introduction to the north-eastern forest we’d be hiking through. After an easy hike on the Parker Trail, we branched off onto the Cliff Walk which would lead out to Bald Rock.

Soon, we encountered the infamous ladder which everyone negotiated successfully. Weather was deteriorating and by the time we started up the rock scrambles to the “flatter” part of the trail, it began to precipitate: icy rain/snow! Wind got stronger, too. We soldiered on. We had limited views from the many viewpoints along the way. We stopped by Hello Rock in the trees for a brief snack break.  Then on to Thoreau’s Seat and Emerson’s Seat, features named for these famed Transcendentalists, though it is unclear if they actually perched on these rocks! Al filled us in with information about Wolf’s Den and the Graphite Mine as we got further along the cliff.  When we were close to the final push and challenging scramble, we stopped under the trees. Some opted to go out to Bald Rock and some stayed in the trees, a wise choice. There were no views from the Rock and howling winds – probably not worth the scramble! We had a quick lunch under the trees before heading back down.

It was a tricky down as all downs are with the added challenge of the wet rock and cool temperatures. Part way down, Maryanne had a slip and did a face plant. It was clear her left shoulder area was injured: whether it was dislocated or a break I could not know, but I knew that it had to be immobilized. Yeti, Allen and I had bandanas and we fashioned a sling. I then used a woolen scarf that one of the other hikers gave me to tie her arm more closely to her body to prevent too much movement. With Yeti holding Maryanne’s waist belt, Maryanne bravely walked out all the way! We used the Lost Farm Trail, a bit easier with no rock scrambles, but steepish sections. Maryanne was in great spirits considering her discomfort. Thanks to Yeti and Allan, who also assisted with her and other hikers, we got out safely. I’d called ahead, and the vans were there as well as a car to take Maryanne directly to the emergency room in Keene.

Thanks to the group for keeping their cool and walking safely down the mountain under difficult conditions.

Once again, a fabulous meal followed by entertainment. Classical guitarist, David Ross, performed a wonderful concert of Spanish classical pieces. He was amazing and personable; we all enjoyed his playing immensely. What a way to end a challenging day.

I checked with Tiffany on Maryanne’s status. She had a clean break in the upper humerus, and would be coming back to Pilgrim Pines shortly. Thanks to Kayla for getting her to and from the Keene hospital.