Monday, July 10, 2017

Sasquatch Hikes Mount Monadnock 2017

May 20, 2017
After the ignominious end to my OCR season last year, I was looking for "easier" events to go to this year. I took my daughter to the BoldDash Winterdash, but so far that was it.

Then I heard about Sasquatch Take a Hike. It's inaugural event would be a timed hike up Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. Mount Monadnock is relatively close to home, and I had always wanted to climb it, so this "race" seemed like a good excuse to do it.

It was the same weekend as the Bonefrog event, which I did in 2015, but did not feel fit enough to tackle this year. I was planning on going alone, but then my friend Jane decided to join me, so we would hike up the mountain together.

Up the rocky trail
The "race," as it were, was just a timed hike up the mountain. I wasn't interested in "racing" per se, but just hiking up the mountain and enjoying the scenery. In many of the OCRs I have done in the past that have been on mountains, the views can be spectacular, but you're always tired and don't have much time to enjoy the views.

The race planners had it set up so that racers would start every few minutes on the trail in singly or in small groups so as not to clog the trail, which we would have to share with other hikers. When we arrived we got our bibs and a back of goodies, including a t-shirt, water bottle, and trail map. Plenty of snacks were provided for free, including some from Panera, Vermont Smoke and Cure, and some homemade trail mix.

We did not have to wait and were able to start hiking right away. We hiked up White Dot trail, and on the way back down we would take White Cross trail. The first half of the 2 mile hike up the mountain was mainly a wooded trail sloping up the mountain but broken up by some very steep sections where you had to scramble up rocks..  There were plenty of other hikers on the trails, but things never got very congested.

Quickly my lack of fitness make itself apparent as I lagged behind (as I always do on climbs), but that just gave Jane more time to look around and enjoy the scenery while she waited for me.

After making to the top of many of the steep sections, there were overlooks where you got great views.

At roughly the halfway point up the mountain, the trail breaks (mostly) out of the trees, and becomes mostly walking on the rock face of the mountain itself, involving a good amount of scrambling. The rock face itself was interesting, as long veins of white marble ran through the massive granite monoliths.
Summit still far away (the peak in the distance left of center)
When we reached the summit, there was a sizable crowd there, having little picnics all over the summit.

It's bare rock up there, so there was plenty of room to find a spot to sit. Jane and I took some pictures, had some snacks, and took in the view for some twenty minutes before heading back down.
At the summit
Not that this was very much of a "race", my time was recorded as 1:39, my place overall was 37/150, and 21/44 in men's.
Just below the summit on the way down
On the way down we took a different trail, the White Cross trail, which is less steep, but no less pretty, and we got a lot of good views to the south.
Time for a little goofing off too
And some more photo ops
More photo ops
All in all, the hike was low key and fun, and the "race," as it were, was a good excuse to spend a beautiful day on a hike. Not that you should need an excuse to go on a hike, but it was that little bit of extra motivation to go out for the day and enjoy it.

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