North Pack Monadnock

April 10, 2016.

Sitting on the couch eating breakfast and I looked out the window to a beautiful blue sky day. I just sat there looking at the outdoors and decided what the hell! Let's go hiking! A quick rush around the house to get my stuff together and out the door a few minutes later. Instead of making the long drive up north I headed over to one of my staples, North Pack Monadnock. Now it was just a matter of which trail/s to use. It's been over a year since I've been to North Pack and the last time I used the Wapack Trail from Mountain Road. So today I figured I'd head up Carolyn's Trail and then down via Ted's Trail.

Heading up Route 31 through Greenfield and a look at North Pack and the completely blue skies. A few minutes later and I am at the trailhead for the start of Ted's Trail. Quickly throwing on the pack and I am off and I love the woods at the beginning of this trail.

 

Across the brook that I am jealous of, wish I had this in my backyard! It doesn't take long to reach the first of many beech glades where the leaves are still hibernating.

 

I've been on this trail quite a few times and this is the first time I paid any attention to this giant of a beech tree.

At the junction I head right onto Carolyn's Trail and reach the swamp and the bog bridges disappear into the water making it impassible. Retreating back and there is now an official bypass trail that wasn't there two years ago when I last took this trail. At the other end I head to the other side where the old trail vanishes into the semi frozen swamp.

 

The air is crisp and cool as I make my way up the mild section of Carolyn's Trail. It was cold enough last night to form needle ice, one of nature's cool phenomenon's. Along the way I reach the first of what will be many stone walls, one of man's cool phenomenon's. I am always amazed when I see these and can't even begin to imagine how much time and effort went into building them.

 

Passing the boundary for the Wapack Wildlife Refuge and the terrain changes and the climbing begins. Passing by the massive cracked ledge where a huge chunk is slowly being wedged away. Who knows how many winters it has taken to make this crack and how much it moves each year.

 

Up further some more beech trees. A holey one amongst a group and an odd low limby one just beyond.

 

Another stone wall along the way. Then breaking out onto the ledges that can be seen from Route 31.

 

Every time I come up here the challenge is can I see Mt Washington from the ledges. Sure enough it is visible as a white cone off in the distance. In between the ledges a red squirrel who has suffered an attack from something is right next to the trail. He must be pretty messed up because he doesn't move as I get closer. I won't show the picture here but you can see him in the album. At the next set of ledges the round white globes of the New Boston Air Force Tracking Station are visible with Manchester in the background.

 

Reaching the end of Carolyn's Trail and I take a right heading over to North Pack. Along the way I pause at the spot Lisa and I had lunch the one and only time she has been up here. Just beyond is the summit and it's very large rock cairn complete with the old Cliff Trail rock sign.

 

The obligatory shot of Monadnock to the west. Just a few yards north along the Wapack Trail and the open views into Vermont. They are not crystal clear views but I can see four different ski areas with Haystack Mt and Mount Snow sharing the same mountain range.

 

Heading back to Carolyn's Trail and on the first set of ledges I head over on the unmarked Ted's Trail. This leads over to the cliffs where Cliff Trail also leads to. Even at this elevation there are stone walls off to the left in the woods. Reaching the open meadow before the cliff the Boston skyline is visible.

 

At the cliffs a look south to the rest of the Wapack Range and a reminder that I need to do that trek again sometime soon. That was such an enjoyable day, long but enjoyable, that I want to do it north to south the next time. Seeing everything I needed to see it is time to retreat down Ted's Trail and within a few minutes down the trail another stone wall.

 

There are more stone walls as I make my way down. More than I remember but one day I might follow them just for fun and map them with my GPS track. Finally the trail reaches the brook that it parallels for a while as both drop down the side of the mountain. This is one of my favorite sections of the trail as the tumbling water is the only sound in the woods.

 

Even more stone walls and then to the idyllic spot where the trail crosses at the bottom of a small waterfall. Past the boundary of the Wapack Refuge and there are quite a few downed trees along the trail. Not sure if these came down due to mother nature or if the landowner is harvesting them. Moving along and I miss the turn for the trail and follow the skidder trail from the recent logging. It doesn't look familiar at all to me and I turn back and meet up with another couple who were about to make the same mistake.

 

Back on the trail and through the beeches then soon enough back at the road. Two hidden gems on North Pack Monadnock that see little traffic. Well at least every time I have been on these two trails I rarely see anyone.


Final numbers: 6.2 miles, 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1070.2