I still had the Cliff Walk on the agenda today. Participants would be arriving in the afternoon, so I wanted to get the hike done in the morning. So, I left a bit earlier and went over to the Toll House Road parking lot to try that approach. I ended going past the turn off for the Parker Trail and opted to head up the Do Drop Trail instead of back-tracking. It was a steep approach to the ridge where the Cliff Walk was and a bit hard to follow in parts as it was not blazed along the way. Once I joined the Cliff Walk, the route took me up and down rocky ledges with scrambles passing great view points along the way. Additionally, the Cliff Walk has several interesting features such as Thoreau’s Seat, Wolf’s Den, and a Graphite Mine site. It ends at Bald Rock with great views of Monadnock.
I returned doing the full length of the Cliff Walk, down the ladder and back to the Toll Road via the Parker Trail. Can’t believe I missed the sign on the way up! I must have had my head down just as I passed it!
I was excited to get back to Pilgrim Pines to meet everyone. Unfortunately, the weather got wet Sunday afternoon and the forecast was a bit gloomy through Tuesday.
The first person I bumped into was Ed from Canada! Ed would be joined by 3 siblings – all of whom had a deep family history with Monadnock, which added much interest to our trip. The hiking group totaled 14: Julie, Nat and Sarah from Maine; Barbara from New Hampshire; Dawn and Joan from New York; Ann from Maryland; Lauren and Tom from Tennessee; Mary Lou from Florida; Enid and Kateryna from Massachusetts (Kateryna is originally from Ukraine); Ed from Ontario; and the amazing Win from Georgia. It’s a diverse and dynamic group with amazing adventurers, scientists, counselors and health professionals, and just plain good folks!
It was a great welcome at dinner for the entire group: hikers and watercolor artists (the other Road Scholar trip that week). What a nice combination of people. Chuck was terrific and it was fun to meet the group. The food at Pilgrim Pines was amazing and plentiful. I was sure I’d gain pounds even though I would be hiking every day!
Following dinner, the hiking group convened in the Fireside Room for a general orientation. Each day, I would have a co-leader and staff to help with the group. At orientation, I discussed the fact that we might have to jockey the hike schedule around based on the weather and hoped everyone would be flexible. It rained all night!