A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Monte Rosa

February 21, 2016
Emilie Phillips

It rained this week and melted all the snow, so we went hiking. There was steady wind all day, so we picked an exposed summit for flying kites. Watatic would have been great, but we have hike it many times recently. Instead we drove farther afield to Monte Rosa on the side of Monadnock.

As we drove over the ridge in Jaffrey, Isaac pointed to the profile of Monadnock and requested, not for the first time, to hike Monadnock. We will get there, but not yet. Instead we took the easiest way up to Monte Rosa, parking at the old toll road parking and walking up the road. Isaac kept up a reasonable pace, interspersed with snack breaks. The maintained road ends at a private house. Beyond, the White Arrow Trail continues on washed out rocky remnants of an old road. Isaac’s wavered as he scrambled over and around the knee high eroded rocks. As soon as we turned off onto the smaller Monte Rosa trail, he was once again captivated by the hike. He excitedly pointed out a stream and bridge.

Beech tree with bark eaten off

Beech tree with bark eaten off

Farther along, at another stream crossing, I spotted a bright tan colored tree on the far bank. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a small beech tree freshly stripped of its bark. We guessed a porcupine was the culprit. We found several more devoured trees near stream crossings. Just below the summit, we ate lunch in a hemlock thicket, protected from the wind.


It was windy and cold on top Monte Rosa. We decided to only fly Isaac’s kite and not bother with mine. Isaac’s is a single line parachute kite. Last fall we had troubles flying it. We e-mailed the manufacturer the symptoms. They responded by offering us a replacement. This was our first time flying the replacement. Tyson unrolled a little bit of line and the kite swooped fitfully. Then he unrolled more line and the kite caught higher, less turbulent air. It sailed up and up and up until all the line was out. Tyson handed the kite to Isaac and he thought it was great. Isaac’s hold on the reel was so tenuous Tyson kept jumping to grab it every time the wind blew harder. Isaac never actually dropped the reel. We riffled through Tyson’s pack until we came up with parachute cord. With that, we relieved our concerns by tying the reel to Isaac’s pack. The next problem was Isaac was so enthralled — by the tug of the line when the wind pulled and the occasional swoops of the kite — that he insisted he was staying and flying the kite past dark. I swapped out lenses several times trying to get the best photo. I discovered that swapping lenses takes long enough that I never had the right lens on my camera.

Ice at Fairy Springs

Ice at Fairy Springs

We eventually declared enough and headed back via the Fairy Springs Trail. Isaac had troubles navigating some of the rock scrambles. He butt slid down most of the ice. Just above fairy springs, we passed a square of rocks. I have wondered every time we hike by it whether it was an old corral or a foundation. This time I looked it up. It was Joseph Fassett’s mountain house from the 1850’s. Isaac paused at fairy falls to skate on the water covered ice.

Back on the road, Isaac kept up a good pace for the whole mile hike back down the road. 3.5 miles total. We will be summitting Monadnock by this summer. [Edit: We hiked Monadnock in November.]

All Photos