A Winter Hike: Mount Watatic.
Snow. Ice. Gray.
It is the greeting that winter meets us with here in New England. In a matter of 24 hours. Our world transforms from fall into something that resembles a Christmas decoration.
And for me, it was time to put away the stand up paddleboard and find other ways to get out into nature.
The region of New England I live in is called the Monadnock Region. Named after the lone peak that rises above all the others in our region. With Mount Monadnock reaching an elevation of 3,165. The other peaks staying below the 2,000 foot mark bow to one of the most climbed mountains in the world.
And this is just one option that my back yard has to offer.
With another 4″ of snow on the ground. And the temperatures hovering in the high teens. Me and the two pups loaded up in the car and set out on an adventure.
Mount Watatic would be the destination. A place I have been countless times. A smaller version of Mount Monadnock, but with panoramic views of Southern New England.
This small New England mountain is loaded with history. For me personally as well as our region. Formerly a ski area, ending its reign in 1984. My dad once wore the title of ski patrol here. But this mountain, still wearing many of the remnants of the ski area. Is now protected, thanks to the help of the local conservation groups. And making it one of my favorite places to visit.
Like any outdoor adventure planning and preparation are an important factor. And during the winter months even more so. With the hike up the mountain being a short one. Many hidden obstacles reveal themselves. Running water. Ice cladded trails. And covered trail markings.
With my winter gear on. Water wicking layers. Boots. Ice cleats. And a Go Pro. Me and the boys set off.
Within the first few minutes we came across our first obstacle. The overflowing, ice dammed pond. But the local conservation group put together a small foot bridge. Which allowed the water to flow under and us to pass by without any issues.
As we meandered around the pine trees and granite lined paths. We found ourselves up at the summit. The gray clouds hovered. Eliminating some of the visibility. Such as the Boston Sky line. But the neighboring mountains were in full view. Mount Monadnock and our local ski hill Mount Wachusett.
“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”
Now my life was not endangered by any means. However both of my Yaktrax or ice cleats broke. About five minutes into the decent. Thankfully the snow was not too packed and I managed to boot ski down the rest of the way. With only a few, comical falls
My take away from this was to be better prepared on my next journey. And look over my equipment. As this simple, funny issue could have resulted in something bigger.
And this is just another reason. Why I love exploring nature. The life lessons are endless. And the experiences priceless.