|Crazy4diesels and I had a pleasant ramble up and down Monadnock over Memorial-day weekend 2018, sort of continuing a fledgling tradition that began with my first trip up there and has never involved shoes. I had a recommendation from another colleague who hikes Monadnock quite a bit that the Pumpelly ridge trail is quite nice, and decided to try that way up this time. We would reach it by branching east on the Cascade link from White Dot, and heading up Spellman.|
Looking at the topography, I figured most of the elevation gain would
happen along Spellman itself with only a little more from the ridge to
So we expected to encounter a lot of Up here, and weren't disappointed!
I was impressed by how this massive tree root was sort of eating the whole rock underneath it.
Sticking to the slabs just fine, no fancy footwear needed!
This route is a bit less traveled than the usual White Dot and White Cross, and the blazes are a little more sparse. I think we were technically off-trail a few times through here, but it was hard to tell.
|Even up here, there are bits of broken glass...|
|Two sweaty crazies, finally arrived at the Pumpelly junction. It didn't really take that long -- we kept moving pretty briskly. The worst part of the whole morning was the black-flies, bringing high motivation to not stop and dawdle too much while still down in the trees. The damn things were basically ignoring my DEET and munching away.|
|A little farther along the trees opened up and yes, there was our nice view up to the summit. Which already appeared to be covered with people.|
|John loves mud, and found a good batch of it in one of the hollows. The best part was his shit-eating grin, and he proudly wore his new "brown socks" pretty much for the rest of the day.|
The obligatory shot of a geodetic survey marker at the top.
There are two or three of these around the summit, dating from about
1959 or so and still pretty readable.
There were quite a few people on the summit, several of which were impressed with our footwear. Apparently barefooting Monadnock is a little more of "a thing" than other places, but we didn't actually spot anyone else in that state, who hadn't just temporarily doffed their boots to relax at the top. Various expressions heard throughout the day included "hardcore", "awesome", "real men", and "I love your shoes". John was quick to point out that anyone could do this, with a little training-up... and the obvious reply to that last one, of course, is "Thanks! I grew them myself."
|Amusingly wedged into a hole between the rocks; gravity kept pulling my other leg farther in...|
|A balanced Zen moment of map study as we started our way down.|
|John had remembered an impressive lightning-strike on a tree along the White Cross trail from a previous trip, and we spotted it here. The track had spiraled all the way down and ripped the tree partly open, but it's still quite alive several years since.|
|And here's our virtualized track from the day, looking from the northeastish -- 5.25 total miles, according to the GPS log. Besides the rest of Pumpelly and Cascade, we can dimly see the White Dot and Red Spot trails up the east face. So many choices for next time!|