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GaliWalker
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PostMon Nov 28, 2016 12:33 pm 
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Looks like the original version was lost in a database crash, so re-posting...

Turkey-burn hike on Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock, located in southern New Hampshire, is considered to be New Hampshire's most popular hike. So, of course, it was one of the first options to pop up when I began to look around for a 'turkey burn' hike that was reasonably close to our Thanksgiving basecamp of Massachusetts. With a high point of 3,165ft and a 4-5mi roundtrip distance, all I was hoping to get was some exercise and a few views of the (potentially) pastoral variety.

Mount Monadnock was a 1.75hr long drive away for me, but thick fog slowed my progress down considerably. Despite that I was at the trailhead a little after 6:00am, to a surprisingly empty parking lot. Yay, no crowds!

Route: Take the White Dot trail up to the summit. Return via the Smith Connector, Cliff Walk, Lost Farm and Parker trails.

The White Dot trail began benignly enough; a wide, moderately steep path made for straightforward progress, despite having to use the headlamp for the first 15min or so. The way up led through a mixed spruce/hardwood forest. The hardwoods were bare of leaves and these coated the trail in a thick rain-wet carpet, making the footing quite slippery.

The easy going ended abruptly, about 0.8mi into the hike. From this point up to the summit the trail was a semi-scramble on granite slabs. Unfortunately, all the rocks were wet from recent rainfall, as well as some spots of snowmelt and stream run-off. Due to the chilly conditions all of this wetness had turned to ice. It was fun going, but spicier than I had anticipated. I found my spikes essential footwear.

A little further up I broke out of the trees and began to get the first views, right as an overcast dawn was breaking. The valleys below were cloaked by the cloying embrace of a cold fog. To the east, however, golden sunlight glinted off the top of the blanket of fog, providing the hope of some warmth.

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1

The enjoyment quotient was in overdrive by now. Mount Monandack was surpassing all expectations. An extensive rock garden of granite slabs, aesthetically painted with swaths of snow and dotted with pools of ice, lay between me and the summit. Hoarfrost, as well as full-on ice sheets, made every rock surface glitter. Swirling mist, glowing in the morning sunshine, made even the atmosphere scenic. Woof!

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3- Sun-kissed
3- Sun-kissed
4- Hoarfrost
4- Hoarfrost
5- My deproach route
5- My deproach route
6- Glowing mist
6- Glowing mist

I made my way to the summit, where I was joined by a couple of other hikers. Knowing that the hordes would soon be upon me I exited stage right: I began by descending a short bit along the White Dot trail, but then took the Smith Connector trail to depart the summit amphitheater. My plan was to take this trail to the sub-summit bump of Bald Rock.

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A steep descent through a pretty spruce forest took me down to Bald Rock. This sported some nice views of Mount Monadnock's summit and the valleys.

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I continued to drop down steeply, now hiking along the Cliff Walk trail. Instead of taking this trail all the way down to the Parker Trail, I decided to tuck in one more trail, the Lost Farm trail. I'm glad I did, because after only a few steps along the Lost Farm trail I was treated to a lovely view of the valley below: clearing fog and candlestick spruce trees made for an ethereal sight.

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The Lost Farm trail meandered its way through a hardwood forest, before intersecting with the mostly flat Parker trail, which I used to return to my car. Yup, the parking lot was overflowing by now.

Hiking/photography stats: 5mi, 2000ft elevation gain, 4.5hrs

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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Foist
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PostMon Nov 28, 2016 1:12 pm 
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Gorgeous photos, as always.  In our Boston years, we always avoided that one due to the notorious crowds.  Also because from Boston it is not much longer to get to the southern Whites, due to the latter's proximity to I-93.  Have you been to Moosilauke?  We also had a couple out-of-the-way favorites in the Sandwich range that I could tell you about, if you are up there and want to avoid crowds.

I think you avoided the crowds by getting there early only because it was the day after Thanksgiving and people were hungover.  In general, we found that New Englanders get to the trail very early.  We found it more fruitful and practical hike very LATE in the day (with headlamps, if necessary).
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostMon Nov 28, 2016 1:39 pm 
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Foist wrote:
Have you been to Moosilauke?

No, not yet. I'm going to file it away for future reference. smile.gif

My knowledge of New Hampshire is quite hit and miss. I do think it's the best of the New England states I've hiked in, so I want to do something there whenever I'm in the area. The rest of the time I usually hike around the mid-Atlantic and don't think about New Hampshire.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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pula58
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PostMon Nov 28, 2016 5:14 pm 
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When I lived in Boston I went there quite often. The upper area of the mountain is so beautifully barren, great rocks, awesome place!
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nordique
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 8:42 pm 
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My early ascents of this lovely peak were when I was a student at UMass Amherst in 1961-1965.    My most memorable ascent was during hunting season, late in 1968, when I came upon two hunters, sitting on their twelve-packs (their beer, already in short supply).  I asked how goes their hunting and they said they'd only had a few 'sound shots.'  I asked what are 'sound shots' and they said 'game moving through the woods.'  That was my last ever ascent of that mountain during hunting season.  Having been wounded by sniper fire, in early 1968 (Tet Offensive), and, in military hospitals for many months afterwards, I tend to avoid gunfire.
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plain old dan
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 11:15 am 
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Thanks for sharing, brings back a lot of memories.  I used to live in a farm house right below the mountain.  I've gone up every trail and there are a lot of them.  I used to time myself to see how fast I could summit.  There was another guy who climbed it every single day for years.  Fall is the best time with the foliage but winter time was more of an adventure with fewer people.
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Foist
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 11:29 am 
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nordique wrote:
My early ascents of this lovely peak were when I was a student at UMass Amherst in 1961-1965.    My most memorable ascent was during hunting season, late in 1968, when I came upon two hunters, sitting on their twelve-packs (their beer, already in short supply).  I asked how goes their hunting and they said they'd only had a few 'sound shots.'  I asked what are 'sound shots' and they said 'game moving through the woods.'  That was my last ever ascent of that mountain during hunting season.  Having been wounded by sniper fire, in early 1968 (Tet Offensive), and, in military hospitals for many months afterwards, I tend to avoid gunfire.

Wow, I'd think so.  Thank you for your service!
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GaliWalker
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 2:22 pm 
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Thanks guys, for the stories. up.gif

Here's one more, similar to #11, but which (I think) works better in B&W:

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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