August 8, 2015.
Andy and Nancy came down for a few days so he could finally hike Mt Monadnock. Hard to believe he has lived here all this time and never hiked it. So the objective was to find the easiest way up for both Nancy and Lisa. Lisa has not been back on this mountain since a grueling day many many years ago. I have done most of the major trails on Monadnock already and I can tell you that nothing is easy especially when it comes to the end near the summit. I did Marlboro Trail last year and although easier than the others I have done it does have some steep stretches in it with some scrambling. I haven't done Dublin Trail yet and from what I have read this would be the best choice for the girls.
Dublin Trail is one of the oldest trails dating back to at least 1840. The trail head is located off an old narrow dirt road in, of course, Dublin. We are the second car in the lot as we hit the trail at 7:40. I figured being on the unpopular side of the mountain that this trail would not see much traffic. The trail follows an old stone wall off to the right about fifteen feet back then dips down crossing a brook that is dry today.
The lower portion is a gentle climb and the girls are doing wonderfully setting the pace as Andy and I lag behind. After crossing another dry brook with some great stonework I notice a side trail leaving off to the right and make a mental note for future exploration. Climbing up some rock stairs and Andy ponders where all the rocks came from and we notice the old ravine off to our left that is filled with them, mystery solved.
An hour and a half into the hike and the gentle grades are no more as the serious climbing begins.
There are breaks along the way to help ease the climb. Also the views start to appear off to our left with the first noticeable peak being Ascutney in Vermont.
Getting higher and more views with Kearsarge off to the north and Crotched Mt to the northeast.
Way off in the distance on the horizon are the faint shadows of Whiteface and Passaconaway to the right of Kearsarge. To the left of Kearsarge are Franconia Ridge with Liberty and Flume and there two pyramidal shaped peaks.
Getting into the scrubby trees and the girls are still going strong as the terrain becomes more scrambly. What looks like the peak can be seen from the trail but in reality it is "Dublin Peak" a high spot on this side of the summit. We reach Jim's Junction where the Marlboro Trail comes up from the right. It was just 14 months ago I was on the Marlboro Trail staying in shape from the gall bladder removal.
It's just two tenths of a mile left as we pick our way up and Lisa is starting to feel the day's climbing but pushes on. Other than a few a scrambles it is a fairly easy finish as we make it just below the summit to take a short break.
A few minutes later and the girls and Andy make there way over to the summit and Lisa is a much happier camper this time. Being only her second hike, last week on Willard, in over two years I am proud of her for making it up here again (you too Nancy!). We settle in on our spot and enjoy the sun while having some snacks before I take a little snooze. It's one of those glorious days up here and the crowd is somewhat tame and not so, well, crowded.
Finally we pack up and start the trip down and along the way I look for a peak that I have never been able to see or taken the time to identify from this vantage, Mt Greylock, the highpoint in Massachusetts. Taking a few pictures of some potential candidates and verifying with my old friend Google Earth I finally have a picture of Greylock. Albeit hazy but it is visible.
Heading down and Andy points out a plant and it is Mountain Cranberry and the berries are ripe. Something I have not seen yet are the berries on the plant. I try a few and they are not as tart as the store berries. Course I warn him if I am wrong and this is not a cranberry to let the EMT's know when my throat starts to close up.
The rest of the trip down goes uneventful with Lisa leading the way with a pretty good pace. Unfortunately it seemed to take forever maybe due to all the traffic coming and stepping aside for everyone. So much for my thinking this trail doesn't see this much traffic. It was just one of those mind game descents as everyone was feeling the same way but in reality it only took an hour and a half to get down the 2.4 mile trail. Back at the lot and the surprise of the day is how packed and overflowing it was with vehicles. My bad for again thinking this was the quiet side of the mountain but a great day with family and especially Lisa.
Final numbers: 4.8 miles, 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 884.2