The scout troop I volunteer with spent this past weekend up in New Hampshire, what better opportunity for a first time climb up Monadnock?
The forecast was supposed to be 60's, mostly sunny, with 10% chance of rain. After a quick breakfast we headed out from the Scout Camp right down the street. We came in via Birchtoft Trail before splitting up (some of the older boys wanted more of a challenge). We ascended Spellman Trail... Awesome fun, nice and steep with what I imagine would be some awesome views. Unfortunately the fog was taking over, ruining any views and turning the rocks slippery. Once up Spellman, it was a quick ridgewalk to the summit, where it was extremely windy & foggy. The combination absolutely soaked anything that wasn't covered/waterproofed, so we only hung out long enough for a quick snack before turning back. On our way down, the fog was so bad that the cairns were usually invisible, so it took our group of 3 adults & 3 kids a little bit to get down.
We later learned, after getting out of the elements, that the volunteer workers on the mountain (rangers? Not sure) were actually turning people away before the summit due to the conditions and basically shut the mountain down. The trip down was long and slow, the wet conditions causing a few bruised knees and tailbones among the group.
Overall, the hike was still a great time. I'm already trying to find time to go when the weather is more cooperative. I've been lucky to avoid bad weather, but I'd say this is the worst I'd want to encounter. The idea of getting lost on a mountain top with 3 boys was not all that appealing. The last picture attached was the walk down from the summit... Wish I could have tied a rope to the boys!
I'd highly recommend Spellman Trail to anyone looking for something other than a dirt path lol. It being my first time up, I can't offer much more insight (other than Pumpelly which was nice easy).
The main thing I noticed was how grossly unprepared some of the people up there were. Upon entering the park, we were given a lecture (which I found condescending at the time), but I now understand why. Jeans, a hoodie, and a pair of casual shoes was the norm for most of the people we saw. I can't imagine how cold & miserable they must have been.