North Pack and Pack Monadnock

April 23, 2017.

While waiting for the snow to melt in the White Mountains, there is still three to four feet in the higher elevations, so why not go in the backyard and check out the Packs. Spring is blooming with the tress starting to leave and the Forsythias and Azaleas in full bloom. The chances of running into snow on North Pack and Pack should be slim to none.

Couldn't ask for a better day as I drive up Route 131 and get the first open view of North Pack complete with a cloudless blue sky. Arriving at the northern terminus for the Wapack Trail located on Mountain Road and I am off on the trail just before ten. The woods are open and the sun feels good as I head up the Wapack Trail on this cool morning as the temps are in the low 50's.

 

No matter how many times I have hiked these two peaks I have always found something different to explore each time. Today I went off trail when I spied this little drop and started following the small brook. I rambled up the brook for a bit until I felt I had exhausted most of the drops and cascades. Then I headed off to my left to intersect the trail through the open woods.

 

Reaching the beginning of the steep stuff and the filtered sun was leaving long shadows in front of me. Just above is the first open spot with a clear view to the north and the White Mountains.

 

Mt Washington can be easily seen as the white capped dome in the background. In front of it are the Tripyramids and The Sleepers. Up at the next open ledge a zoomed shot of George.

 

Up another steep section and in the protection of the trees a patch of snow still hanging around. Around the corner and the blueberry bush that stands in the middle of trail has not yet bloomed. Would love to know the story of how this bush became to be.

 

Reaching the summit of North Pack and the cloudless sky gives up views into Vermont. Stratton Mt and the ski slopes are visible. Just to the south of that are Haystack Mt and Mt Snow and their respective ski slopes.

 

The obligatory summit shot of the large cairn on North Pack and also over to Mt Monadnock.

 

Off to the north of the summit thru the scrub is an open ledge with obscured views to the north. But I did not come here for the views today. This time I wanted some quiet space. Finding a flat spot I laid down and using my backpack as a pillow proceeded to take a nap in the warmth of the sun. I fell asleep for a good hour before reluctantly getting up and moving on to my next objective, Pack Monadnock.

 

Down the steep side of North Pack still following the Wapack Trail and soon reached the stone wall that lines the trail for a bit. One of these days I am going to try and follow these walls for the same reason we climb the mountains, because they are there. Along the ridge and over a few small bumps before I reach the unofficial Middle Pack.

 

Through a great pine section where they are tall and nicely spaced apart giving an open airy feel to the trail. Then I reach one of my favorite trees I have ever come across. It is a five trunked maple tree.

 

The climb up out of the col does not take long and shortly I reach the always busy summit of Pack Monadnock. A look back at the summit of North Pack. Across the parking lot to the picnic tables a view of the rest of the Wapack Range. Watatic, the southern end of the Wapack Trail, is the peak just to the right of Mt Wachusetts all the way in the back. I feel the calling while standing here of another trip along that ridge. I did this back in May of 2013 and am long overdue for a return.

 

The view towards Boston is flawless as I can easily make out the skyscrapers that form the skyline. Relaxing for a bit on the picnic tables while eating and drinking before I move on for a new trail. But first I noticed a sign on a tree just in front of me that I have never seen before. A quick visit over to it and I have something else to come back to someday. It's called the Spruce Knoll Spur. Not sure how long this trail has existed and how I have never noticed it before.

 

But it will have to wait for another day as today I wanted to do the Summit Loop Trail. This loop only goes around half of the summit but is a short interesting trail. A bit rough in spots as I make my way quickly around.

 

After the loop it was time to head back. A passing shot of the maple tree. Twenty minutes up the trail and a peek at the South Cliff on North Pack. I have never noticed this opening in the trees before.

 

The Packs never fail to disappoint as I found some new things today and some reasons to go back. Nice to have these mountains in the backyard, so to speak, as they are a nice backup to the Whites while the spring snow season keep me away.


Final numbers: 8.4 miles, 6 hours and 55 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1294.8