A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Pratt Mountain

April 17, 2017
Emilie Phillips

The snow had all melted and the mud mostly dried up near home in southern New Hampshire. It was a warm spring day with a bit of breeze. Our whole family was still recovering from two an a half weeks of passing the flu around. We picked a short hike on the Wapack ridge.

Tyson discovered the trail to Pratt Mountain many years ago. It starts from the Hampshire Country school in Rindge and follows old road beds up through the woods. At the top of the first lump, there used to be a little ski area. This time we did not stop to explore the old rope tow. We let Isaac set the pace and stop where he wanted. On the last few ski trips we pushed him to reach our destination. Too much more of that and he wouldn’t have any fun on trips with us.

He didn’t quite fall in

About a half mile in, at a stream crossing, the old roadbed disappears and the trail turns sharply uphill. I was tired and the splashing water sounded pleasant. So I sat down to rest beside a rock-lined pool. The sides of the pool looked built up with large slabs of granite. Isaac poked at the water with sticks, shepherding leaves and sticks around. Tyson took pictures. “Should I take a picture when he falls in?” Tyson wondered. Eventually Isaac stretched too far over a rock. Tyson ran to retrieve Isaac as he yelled “help, I’m sliding in!”

Find the blazes game

The next part of the trail is more adhoc. It’s blazed but it doesn’t have a constructed footbed. Isaac slowed down on the steeper hill. Since we were letting him set the pace, he didn’t complain much. As we climbed higher, the wind picked up and we hiked into the shady side of the mountain. Tyson and Isaac played tag the blazes until we reached the top.

Nap time for Emilie

Up on top of the ridge, we joined the Wapack trail. Tyson set off north to find a kite flying spot. Pratt Mountain is covered with trees, so we dropped into the saddle headed toward Stony Top. Here, the exposed granite backbone of the mountain created an irregular clearing in the trees facing west. Tyson thought it was too small. We found the larger brushy area descending the east side of the ridge where we have flow my kite before. Today it was protected from the westerly winds. We retraced our steps back to the granite clearing. I laid down on the warm rock to nap. Tyson and Isaac wrestled with the kite for a while. The wind blowing around the trees was too turbulent. The kite would fly for a moment, then flip upside down. Tyson gave up after getting it good and stuck in a tree once and joined me for a nap.

The trip down was faster than the trip up. We stopped again at the water pool. This time Isaac was more careful to not fall in. Then Isaac requested his camera. He took pictures of big rocks and the woods. He wanted a picture of a shelf fungus. So off we went to find a shelf fungus.

Shelf fungus

Down near the bottom of the trail, there are giant stone walls, historical remnants from an earlier time. A New York City millionaire had them built for his Cheshire Place farming community. The granite stones are cut and shaped to fit together. One wall near the trail rises up above my head and turns to parallel another towering wall. I can’t tell if it was a stone foundation or a corral for cattle. Farther up the trail, we glimpsed a massive stone wall off in the woods. It’s top ran level above a valley. It looked like it could have been a dam, except there was no water now. I would love to go explore the walls, but they are on the Hampshire School private property, so I don’t dare intrude. The school page has a brief description. And The Towns of the Monadnock Region has a photo.


GPS track


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