Aubrey has been proving she is getting stronger and more confident as a hiker so the goal of hiking the Most Climbed Mountain* in the World was becoming a reality. My original plan for Friday was to head north and hike Welch and Dickey and possibly camp out overnight. However checking the weather it wasn’t looking good up north so I started thinking of local options. Then the thought of Monadnock popped into my head. Too nervous to attempt it alone I asked my mom if she was up for a challenge. She agreed so Friday morning we took off up the Most Climbed Mountain in the world.
I opted to take the Old Toll Road/White Arrow trail options. This seemed like the “easiest” option up since the first mile is walking along the access road to the halfway house site, the next half mile is hiking up a rocky trail with many rock stairs and then the last leg is the fun hard scrambles to the summit.
The road while uneventful and exciting on its own lead to some fun discoveries, such was assorted berries for the picking, a dead snake to inspect and then Brammy found the winning discovering (which ended up being sad), she found a little mouse on the road. It was still breathing, but not really moving much and we noticed a small wound on its head. We wished it well and promised to check on it on our way down.
The beginning of the White Arrow, we stopped to take pictures at the chair cut out in the rock before heading up. We paused at the Monte Rosa/Fairy Springs trail and debating on if we wanted to attempt the summit or do a shorter sub-peak. We opted to go up to the summit and had the small goal of breaking the treeline. Up the White Arrow we headed, tagging the arrows painted on all the rocks on the way up. Aubrey loved this because the blazes were easy to touch, no high up in tree blazes. We took our time up this section and didn’t make it to the treeline until noon time.
We broke the treeline and stopped at the first large rocky viewpoint, Aubrey cheered in excitement, “I did it!!” and then like something out of a movie we pointed up to the summit and she slowly turned her head to it and the look of disappointment grew over her face. We asked her if she was all done hiking and wanted to go back down. She wasn’t having it. She took up off the trail “Nope, We go up!” she saw the goal and was bound to accomplish it. We made our way up the scrambles. She loved this part, being able to rock climb her way up. She would talk out loud as she was problem solving how to go. “This foot here, this hand there….and pull up …ok this foot there!” Having my mom with us helped greatly in this area. I lead the way up, pointing out where to go and Brammy would stay behind Aubrey and give her boots to help get up over the rocks as needed and to catch her in case of any falls.
When you are first standing at the treeline, you see the rocky bulge up in the distance, and you start thinking “Great the end is near!” HA nope! As soon as you get to the top of what first appeared as the summit you soon realize that it is not, and you still have a way to go. So at this point we stopped again, asked Aubrey how she was doing and if she was ready to turn around. She has her mother’s (and grandfather’s) stubbornness and wanted to make it to the top. We kept glancing at our watches and it was taking a bit longer to reach the top than we had planned and we still had to make it down the rocky mess! But we had come this far, and the weather was still looking good so we pushed on. We reached the summit at 1pm, 3.5 hours after starting. We enjoyed special treats (both my mom and I packed M&Ms) and had our pictures taken to prove to the world we made it! It was very windy and we lucked out and the clouds somewhat lifted for our time up there. Our stay was cut short since all of a sudden someone announced she had to pee so it was off down the hill to find a private and acceptable place to take a potty break.
Coming down was as challenging as we thought. Going up Monadnock is far easier than going down. Every other day we hear how someone had to be rescued off the mountain because they had a lower leg injury on their descent. Rarely do these injuries occur on the ascent (majority of the ascent rescue calls are for medical emergencies such as dehydration, exhaustion or heart attack). Again I was lucky to have Brammy with us so one of us could climb down, while the other stay next to Aubrey and we could pass her through hard areas. The best part of coming down was the butt sliding! On the smooth flat rocks we were able to zip right down shaving a few seconds and adding tons of fun along the way.
Once we were below the treeline we began the sufferfest. The rocky trail bed was a pure challenge for tired legs. We kept dreaming of the access road so we could run, skip and hop the rest of the way. We made it to the access road just after 3:30 (I figured we would be done by 3pm before heading out), but the reason we chose the road definitely helped out. We played tag and skipped for most of it. Then came the sad discovery. The little mouse we had wished well on the way up, had passed. We moved it to the side of the road and gave it a mini funeral. I am not sure if Aubrey really understands death yet as it really didn’t bother her all that much, which leads me to think she doesn’t get it quite yet.
At one point as we were nearing the end of the walk down Old Toll Road, my mom was joking around and said “I think we’re lost” since it was taking us so long and the trailhead wasn’t in view yet. Aubrey froze dead in her tracks and exclaimed “I’ll blow my whistle!” I had recently attached a little whistle to her pack and taught her that if she ever looses sight of me on a hike she was to stop and start blowing her whistle and not move until she is found. It was a feel good moment when I realized that what I teach her is sticking.
Just before 4:30 we made it back to the cars! Boy it was a long day and a hard hike but we did it. Aubrey now has climbed the Big Mountain she sees all the time!
Trip Stats- 4.6 miles RT, 1700ft elevation gain, 6.5 Hours
*Edited- I first stated Monadnock is the 2nd Most Climbed Mountain in the world but after research it appears that Monadnock is actually the most CLIMBED mountain and Mt Fuji is the most summitted due to an auto road making it easy for anyone to drive up on their holy quest.