Friday, October 12, 2012

Inside The Moments: Episode 4 - A Journey Begins on Mt. Monadnock

It was New Year's Eve in 2010, and I had dove head first into hiking in the fall months prior. I had the Friday off because it was New Year's Eve, and I headed up Mt. Monadnock for a solo ascent. I would later hike down and spend the rest of the evening celebrating the New Year with friends and family. I don't know why it was Monadnock that day. I had hiked it a couple of weeks prior with my brother and a friend. Monadnock is a fun climb, the view really sets off its prominence, and being up there in the afternoon when its less crowded is pleasant. It was the perfect place to ponder what I was about to do.

Although I had not announced my quest to complete NH's 48 until the following day, it was on my mind for weeks before and on this day as I ventured up the trail over snow and ice to the summit of Monadnock. What was I thinking...exclaiming that I would climb 48 4000 foot mountains in one year? 48 mountains much higher than Monadnock.  In August of 2010, I tried a Presi Traverse and struggled with knee pain and only got 3 presidential peaks. I had also failed to reach Isolation, which was the topic of my last episode. I had already started my 48, but something pushed me to want to re-start the quest and get them all in a year. I would be starting this quest two weeks from this NYE hike, right in the heart of winter, having never used snowshoes before, and just testing out the spikes. Was I going to be able to do it? I had no idea if I would be capable, or even what lied ahead. This was this hike I used to ponder these questions and prepare myself for the journey.

It was a crisp morning with decent blue sky. Clouds came in a bit as I was at the summit, but it was still a great view with blue sky behind and it was just a good spot to be. One of the highlights of the hike was getting the photo at the top of the page. It sort of symbolizes the purpose of the hike. I was sitting there on the slab at the outlook before the scrambles start. I thought of the challenges I would face along the way. I had only reached a unique 4000 foot summit 3 times before. At that moment, I felt that I had put myself up against a pretty difficult challenge, one that I didn't know much about.

Thinking back on the entire experience of finishing the 48 for the first time; it was a billion times sweeter than I ever remotely thought it would be that day. I had never done anything like climb 48 mountains before, so I honestly questioned whether I would be able to match up to my challenge, but when I was planning my Moonlight Presidential Traverse finale just 7 months later, there was no question about it, I could. At the end of the year I had climbed 95 four thousand footers, visiting many of them a second time. You could say it also started a trend for New Year's Eve hiking, as I ended the year 2011 not with another Monadnock ascent, but a New Year's Eve ascent of Mt. Washington with some snow and low visibility, which was awesome.
Precisely 1 year to that day and 95 4000-footers later on Mt. Washington.
To read (or re-read) the original trip report for this hike to Monadnock, click here. There is also a video from the summit. You'll see there was no mention of my thoughts during this hike in the trip report, but that has enabled me to take you back "Inside The Moment", to the hours just before I embarked on a journey that would bring a lot more amazing experiences my way.

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