Monadnock was on our to-do list for months; everyone but us had apparently ascended this peak; it's the second or third most climbed mountain on the planet. However, Mount Monadnock is as far from the Whites as you can get without leaving the Granite State, and I hate the idea of having to drive more than an hour to get to a trailhead. Nevertheless, the girls and I boarded Max (no dogs are allowed on this mountain), climbed in the car, and drove toward Jaffrey, NH.
We decided to ascend via Spellman Trail, which is described as the most difficult and steepest way up the mountain; the girls and I always prefer a nice scramble to a walk-up.
We began on the popular White Dot Trail...
...then we took Cascade Link, which crossed this mossy stream.
We soon arrived at Spellman Trail.
Spellman was tame for the first one or two tenths of a mile...
...but then it got rocky, which is just what we like. :)
The climb afforded nice views...
Before we knew it, we were finished with Spellman Trail, above treeline (on Pumpelly), and heading toward the summit.
There were a few ledges to climb before arriving at the top...
(Alex took this picture) --
(Sage took this picture) --
Touching the marker (which is not quite on the highest point)...
The weather was perfect -- sunny and dry, with just enough of a breeze to keep the forehead cool. We hung about for a while and enjoyed our surroundings before descending White Dot.
White Dot Trail was ledgy and lovely.
Once back in the woods, we admired this wonderful tree...
...before returning to the parking area.
We enjoyed Monadnock -- I just wish it was a little closer to the Whites!
We can’t have all the great NH mountains in our backyard ;)
Dave, I admit, I've become frightfully spoiled living here in the Whites. There's beauty all around me and many trailheads are within an hour's drive from my door. I become grumpy if I have to travel for more than an hour and a half to reach a mountain. I'm very lucky to live where I do. :)
I'm lucky in that Monadnock is in my back yard. I have to drive at least 2 hrs to the whites. I have hiked all the trails on the mountain and you picked a great route. It looks like you had a great day and hike. I enjoy following your families adventures.
The Whites are a long drive for me, definitely worth it.
My one trip to the beautiful Monadnock - almost as long a drive, time-wise, as Moosilauke, was Good Friday this spring. Got a beautiful day - 100 miles views, including Washington, faintly visible, nice views of Moosilauke and other southern Whites, and superb views into Mass and Vermont. Very nice mountain - I went up White Dot and down White Cross. Will do another route on my next visit.
Monadnock definitely does feel like a White Mtn, and I gather that both it and Ascutney are related to the Whites geologically. Looks like y'all had a lovely trip, Trish. Thanks as always for sharing!
Adam, I admire the fact that you've hiked all the trails on Monadnock! Good to know we picked one of the best trails. We enjoyed Spellman, it was fun. You're lucky to have that peak in your backyard.
Arkie, I enjoyed White Dot for the descent. Haven't tried White Cross, will have to give that one a go next time. Glad you had a good trip the last time you were there. :)
The White Cross is commonly paired, on descent, with White Dot's ascent, much as with Tuckerman and Lion Head at Washington. It's less severe than its twin trail. Having ascended the Dot, I reckoned I didn't want to tangle with the Chute on descent and so opted for the Cross, which I'd read and heard from fellow hikers was not quite so challenging for going down.
It's a pretty trail but, imo, not a must. It is poorly marked in a few places, somewhat like Ammo Ravine Trail, and so is hard to follow at times. Was the moreso for me as I had gotten a late start and it was getting close to dusk.
Next time I go, I plan to hike Spellman as you did or possibly the southern M-M/New England Trail approach, which I hear has numerous very pretty spur trails, including one enticingly called the Cliff Walk.
Much as I enjoy Monadnock, though, all other things being equal, I'd usually be inclined to drive a bit further and trek in the Whites for the time being.
The Whites are all almost 3 hours from me, but Monadnock is about 30 minutes...Definitely forget the White Cross, its not necessary. After Spellman, I recommend the Red Dot or The Marlboro trail. Also ascending the White Dot is a nice hike, but I usually use it for the descent like you did.
A great time to hike it is in mid-spring when Washington is gleaming white in the distance and most newbie hikers comment on the "funny bright cloud"
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