After a long night at work, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at home all day. I know it seems backwards but when I am that tired, I need to get out and do something so our tensions do not run high until nap time. Aubrey has been working on her NH Fire Tower Quest patch and has done all the local easy hikes, and the other hikes are either a bit harder and/or an hour away, except for Pack Monadnock. I had originally wrote Pack off the list thinking it was going to be too hard for her compared to the other hikes we have done on the list. Well I decided it was worth a shot since I wasn’t up for a far drive.
I packed up a lunch, got us dress and we headed out the door shortly after 8am. Aubrey was excited, but when she learned that her Hike it Baby Monadnock were not joining us, she was upset. She got over it quickly when we arrived to the parking lot and got out of the car. She was excited to tell people we were going hiking, and much to my surprise no one said anything about the hike being to hard for her (but maybe that’s because my car is covered in hiking stickers and we now look the part of seasoned hikers).
She took off quickly up the Marion Davis trail, following the “Blue Diamonds” they are triangles but no matter how many times I corrected her they remained diamonds.
She really impressed me, the first half of the hike. She didn’t complain once, nor did she ask for a break. She enjoyed stomping through the mud and through the water that would cross the trail. At about the halfway point she finally started to slow down and asked for a break. We stopped and shared cheese sticks on a big rock before hiking again. We made it another quarter mile until she asked for another snack break, so again we stopped and shared an orange. We only had about .3 miles left to the summit and we were making great time. Far better than I had expected!
The last bit was a bit challenging for her, the one rocky scramble was wet, and she had already learned multiple times that wet rocks are slippery. She made it up without an issue and continued up the trail. We finally rounded the corner and the summit towers finally came into view and she got excited. Her pace quickened up again and we reached the summit! She did it, and not only did she do it on her own two feet, she did it without asking for me to carry her once! I had packed away the Onya carrier in my backpack just incase she needed it. She did so well hiking Pack Monadnock that packing the Onya on future hikes might not be necessary.
Aubrey picked out a picnic table and we sat and had our lunch together as we watched the State Park workers clean up the summit park area. I was also amazed that we didn’t see any other hikers up there. After our lunch Aubrey announced she wanted to climb the fire tower, so I figured why not. She climbed all the way to the top and was disappointed to see that she couldn’t get to the very top! Climbing back down was a different story as she didn’t want to climb down backwards, and the steps where just to far for her to do like a normal stair case. She held my hand the entire way down and we made it to solid land.
I took her over to the picnic table with the amazing view of Monadnock and we took a few pictures here before heading back to the table with my backpack on it. I packed up our things and we headed down. We took the Auto Road on the way down as I knew it would be the fastest route down the mountain and I did not want to press my good luck with her having a melt down on the trail, which would take longer and be harder.
There were only two small meltdowns on the way down the road. One was when we encountered the asplund tree crews working on cutting limbs back from the power lines that run up the mountain. She was upset that they were cutting trees and that they shouldn’t be doing that. I explained to her that sometimes we need to cut trees because they can grow too big and fall and hurt people or things. She nodded and walked on. The second melt down was when we were nearing the bottom and two hikers were coming up and they had a dog with them. They allowed the dog to briefly stop and say hi, but apparently that it wasn’t enough time for Aubrey.
We finally made it back to my car, I stopped my Garmin tracker and we finished the hike in just under 3 hours! Book time for this hike is just under 2 hours (which is moving time only), in the past when I have hiked Pack it has taken me 2.5 hours including a lunch break at the top, so for Aubrey and I to do this in 3 hours I think that was an IMPRESSIVE time for a toddler!
Her reward was getting ice cream from Connollys and visiting daddy at work. She was so proud of her accomplishment and I can not wait to take her on her next big hike.