Winter has finally receded. The birds are calling, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the trails are – almost – clear of snow and ice. There was a lone block of ice still clinging to life on the White Arrow Trail up the back side of Mount Monadnock, on a part of the hike where you are, in essence, climbing up a waterfall, but there was enough room to squeeze by without the use of ice tools.
I was shocked to discover an ice slab in May, especially at such a low altitude and on a day where the temperature ventured into the eighties, but I heard that Denver just got ten inches of snow on Mother’s Day, so I’ll consider myself lucky that it was just a patch.
The day was gorgeous. This was the third time I’ve climbed Monadnock, but this time was an entirely different experience from the other two. It may as well have been a different mountain, save for the fact that it still had the absolutely spectacular views Monadnock is known for.
Instead of hiking from the trail-head at the park headquarters, and taking the overcrowded White Dot Trail up, we drove around to the other side, taking the Old Halfway House Trail to the White Arrow Trail, which led us the 2.5 miles to the 3,165 foot summit.
Few others were out, giving us the trail to ourselves for most of the hike. You spend quite a bit more time climbing bald rock that from the more popular White Dot Trail, but, in my opinion, it’s worth it. The view was simply amazing. Round trip the hike took us 3.5 hours. A good workout and time well spent.