Winter Hiking Adventure to Mount Monadnock
Ever since we got a taste of snow on our backwoods Maine adventure, we’ve been dying to use our snowshoes and hike in the snow.
With the long weekend approaching for Martin Luther King Jr. Day we decided to take a last minute impromptu adventure to winter hike Mount Monadnock.
We knew there wasn’t a ton of snow up in New Hampshire, although we had just heard they received a fresh inch or so the day before.
Once morning hit, we woke up early, loaded the truck with all of our winter gear, and set off on the two hour trek from Pawtucket, RI to Jaffrey, NH and the base of Mount Monadnock.
Starting our Hike
We arrived to Mount Monadnock State Park and payed the $5 per person fee at the check in gate. The kid at the gate kindly asked us if we had any traction for our feet like micro-spikes or crampons which we excitedly answered yes!
Then we pulled through, parked the truck, and began to layer up and put our gear on.
From there we started the hike on the White Dot Trail.
We decided on the White Dot Trail because we haven’t done a ton of winter hiking, and this was Megan and I’s first time in micro-spikes. We typically opt for summer days or packed snow. Forging out onto ice and steep slick climbs above tree line was going to be an adventure.
All considered, knowing we were rookie (but prepared) winter hikers, Mount Monadnock’s famous white dot trail seemed like a good choice.
The trail started off with packed snow and ice with a gradual ascent, it wasn’t until about half a mile in we started to see some increase in elevation and steepness.
Up, up, up!
After a consistent half mile of up, we finally noticed a change in the scenery as the leafless trees turned into pine trees. It was beautiful to see the snow covered pine trees as far as you could see.
Not to long after, we broke tree line for a bit with an amazing (yet overcast) view of everything below. Visibility was pretty good. But the best way was finally being able to see the summit.
After the tree line broke, we headed back into the pine trees for a little bit, overcoming some pretty steep climbs and scrambles before finally officially breaking tree line on our push for the summit.
This last bit of trail was totally exposed, the views were incredible, and it as most definitely icy. It made me so happy that we were using our micro-spikes.
We arrived at the summit to see about 10 people hunkered down trying to stay out of the wind as they rested from their ascent.
We climbed to the tippy-top, celebrated for a bit before taking out our weather shells, and then hunkering down and Treating ourselves to some gatorade and snacks.
We stayed briefly at the summit because it was pretty exposed, windy, and super cold. Windchill was definitely putting the temperature below zero.
On our way down, we decided to change things up and take the White Cross Trail down instead of the White Dot trail. It seemed most of the traffic was heading up that way, we were looking for a little seclusion and a change of pace.
Our gamble definitely payed off as we barely saw anyone on the White Cross Trail, which was refreshing. I wouldn’t say the White Dot Trail was crowded but we saw a good 20 people as we headed up. I could only imagine what this mountain would be like in the summer, very over crowded I imagine.
We we’re in good spirits on the decent, having some fun, and making short work of the decent.
Once we reached the truck, we clocked the round trip at 3 hours and 45 minutes. Not to bad for our first foray into winter hiking, and especially on Mount Monadnock.
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We had an absolute blast on this hike, it was such a great experience and definitely is a top contender for favorite hike so far.
Question: What is your favorite winter hike, and what made it so special?
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