After breaking the funky mood I had been in yesterday and gorgeous weather predicted today I decided Aubrey and I should head up Pack Monadnock! It’s hard to call it a “winter hike” when the temps are in the high 40s but it’s still technically winter so it counts.
Aubrey was already bonkers when she woke up so I got us ready pretty quickly and we were out the door by 830am, by 9am we were starting up the Auto Road. From the parking lot the Auto Road appeared to be free and clear of snow, however, I didn’t want to risk it so I hooked out “gears” (as Aubrey calls our Microspikes) to our packs. This was the first time I gave Aubrey a “full” pack to hike with. In the past, its been mostly empty and really those times were few and far between since I didn’t want to end up carrying it too. Also, her old pack was a Deuter Schmusebar, which wasn’t great for hiking. It lacked a hip belt so Aubrey hated it whenever any weight was added, and it didn’t have a place for a hydration system. It ended up being used for preschool. Now I think Aubrey is old and strong enough to start shouldering some of the weight. For christmas I got her an Osprey Jet12 which is a perfect size for her to grow in too without being too big. It has a hip belt which will help take the weight off her shoulders and its hydration system compatible! I packed her a small first aid kit, a down jacket, hat/mittens and water for her first hike carrying it. On the way up, we chatted about why we carry certain things on hikes and how she is now ready to carry her own backpack. She didn’t complain once about her pack and never asked to take it off. Win!
As we walked our way up the road and kept turning the switchbacks I was expecting at some point to find snow and ice but the entire way up it was bare pavement. There were maybe two small sections of ice but they were only a few steps wide and not enough to put our “gears” on even though Aubrey kept begging to wear them. A few other hikers passed us on the way up and within an hour we were at the top! We ditched out backpacks and walked around checking out the really nice undercast clouds. We walked down to the view area off of the Raymond Trail which was icy to get to and I had wished we had our “gears” then but we managed just fine. The undercast to the north covered most of the smaller mountains but it was fun to say we were above the clouds! Something Aubrey had yet to experience on a hike!
We headed back to our picnic table and had our snack before heading over to the fire tower to climb and check the view. I hate heights, so I stopped Aubrey halfway and asked if she still was comfortable climbing all the way up and she replied with her usual “We go up!” so up we went. The top platform was extremely windy and we only stayed up there long enough for me to snap a picture of Grand Monadnock off in the distance. The wind was strong at this time, and after looking down, Aubrey was scared to climb down (which was very unlike her!), so I carried her down a couple flights and then put her down to climb down the rest of the way on her own. I stopped at the bottom and checked out the weather station, wind gusts were around 20mph.
We then began our walk down the road. Which much like the way up was uneventful. We chatted with a gentleman who was passing about all the mountains Aubrey has hiked and she showed off her pack and spikes. It always makes me happy when other adults appreciate seeing such a young hiker and take the time to talk to her instead of passing off some judgment or ignoring her greetings.
Soon enough the parking lot was back in view and we were done our hike! All in all, it took us about two hours and Aubrey thanked me for taking her up a mountain since yesterday the hike wasn’t a mountain and it made her sad.