Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NH Fire Tower Quest #4 - Pack Monadnock Mountain

Every year at my work, we do something called Wellness Week where we try to do activities each day to promote a healthy lifestyle for our employees. Each year, I'm given the privilege of planning out a hike for everyone to go on that takes a few hours in the middle of the day. In 2014, I chose Pack Monadnock Mountain as it's not far from Manchester, NH, it's a pretty gentle ascent, and I had never had the chance to hike it before.

On September 9th, 2014, a few of us from work, as well as some of our children, set out for Miller State Park which is located in Peterborough, NH. It's probably worth noting that like most state parks, there is a fee of $4 for adults and $2 for children (ages 6-11) that is collected upon entering the parking area. Our chosen route to summit was a counterclockwise loop, ascending the Wapack Trail and descending the Marion Davis Trail. The length of each trail is approximately 1.4 miles making the loop about 2.8 miles.

Lylah came with me so that we could check off fire tower number 4 for her NH Fire Tower Quest Patch. That being the case, most of the guys headed up in front of us and we took on the rear of the party as her legs were the shortest in the group. 

The Wapack Trail started off pretty rocky and steep and quickly opened up to some great views to the west, of the popular Mount Monadnock. The ledge and rock soon turned into forest and the ascent became more gentle. Throughout hiking, you could hear cars passing up and down the auto road which is just to the east of the Wapack Trail. With a lot of breaks and some carrying of my daughter, we did finally make it to the top of the mountain.

Kiosk at trailhead

Wapack Trail Sign

My buddy, Rob, on a scary rock overhanging a very high ledge!

First outlook to the west of Mount Monadnock

At the summit, there was a parking area for cars, the fire tower, a radio tower and some picnic tables. We ate lunch at the picnic tables and then headed up the fire tower for a 360 degree lookout containing Mount Monadnock, the Boston skyline and some other close by mountains.

 Mount Monadnock to the west.

 Close up of Mount Monadnock

 Boston Skyline

 North Pack Monadnock to the right, Crotched Mountain to the left, and Mount Kearsarge and Mount Cardigan beyond Crotched Mountain (harder to see).

USGS Bench Mark!

NH DOT Bench Mark

Fire Tower

Radio Tower

We descended the Marion Davis Trail, again trailing the pack of hikers. The descent was pretty gentle and did go by pretty fast. Once we got back to the parking area, we packed up and headed back to the office to try to get some productive work in before the end of the day. I would say it's probably the best way to spend a day in the office (but not really "in" the office).

After this mountain, we only need to hit one more active fire tower for Lylah to earn her Quest Patch. I'm pretty sure we're going to try Kearsarge (south) next, but I'll keep you posted!


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