Climbing the World's Most Popular Mountain

Descending Mount Monadnock
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To the Top and Down Again
Ideally, we would have had lunch at the summit, but the kids were hungry about two-thirds of the way up, even though we had had several snacks and water breaks before (a must with any hiker, especially with kids). We stopped at a great vista. Will, Shannon and Stephanie were thrilled with the views, the increasing altitude, and how far they'd climbed. Lucy and I couldn't have been happier.

With the summit in sight, the kids remained motivated. Views are indeed plentiful on a clear day, because ancient forest fires transformed the upper 500 feet of the mountain into treeless ledges. After a lot of climbing on those ledges, we were at the top. The many hikers made the atmosphere festive, with everyone proud of their climb and marveling at the 360-degree views. Will and his pals enjoyed touching the summit's round, metal USGS marker. We posed for photos, chatted and snacked, then started our descent.

The kids were truly tired, but good troopers nonetheless, and an occasional treat of wild blueberries helped spur them on. We cautioned them to watch their footing and not run—it's so easy to fall or twist an ankle, especially on the way down.

Will was a real New England hiker now, with Monadnock under his belt, and plenty more peaks awaiting his little feet. We will climb Monadnock once each year, perhaps more, taking photos of Will as he grows, standing tall and happy on top of an ancient, aging mountain. In a few years he will be joined by his twin sisters, Martha and Cary, and Will will feel like an old pro as he helps them up the mountain on their first climb.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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