In which I climb a mountain and do some modeling.

Yen announced Saturday that morning that he wanted a view. Trekking through the forest looking for birds is a worthwhile activity, but he wanted a vista. Ok, coming right up.

Neither of us had ever tackled Mt Monadnock, though it’s reputed to be one of the most-climbed mountains in the world, and basically in our backyard (an hour and 42 minutes from my house, according to Google Maps). We didn’t set out until shortly after noon, but I thought maybe this would mean we’d beat the crowd. Not so, not so.

The rangers at the gate all seemed a little irritated. Multiple references were made during our two-minute conversation to the number of people climbing that day and the profound erosion from the recent crazy rain. We swore to be careful and were granted admission (paying the requisite $8 helped).

Joe has complained before that East Coast trails are just “two-mile staircases.” That’s the perfect description for this trail. Not a switchback in sight, though we invented a few for ourselves. I hear it’s a “moderately difficult” hike, and I suppose that’s a good description. There were moments when I was truly afraid of what I was doing – a little stretch where you are clinging and pulling yourself up while college students in Nikes are sliding down toward you on their butts frightened the living hell out of me. But I did make it, and I was so terribly proud of myself. About halfway up we stopped for a break and a man passing by said, “You’re nearly halfway there – the halfway marker is just ahead.” I laughed because it seemed like a joke. But no, he was quite correct. Yen, of course, was gracious about how slow I was, and he took some lovely photos when he wasn’t giving me a boost.

And the view? It was the perfect choice because the last 2/3 of the trail (we took the White Dot up and the White Cross down) are bare (thanks to fires in the 19th century), so you have a spectacular view all along. I am happy we did this, and happier still that we can move on to more of the White Mountains now.

All of these photos are by Yen. I took some of him with his camera, but they were mysteriously not uploaded for me.