Emilie Phillips updated November 18, 2018
For Mother’s Day, I organized a hike up Monadnock for the younger generations before the afternoon Sawyer family cookout. We started from the state park trailhead (map). We took Cascade Link out to Spellman and then looped back on Pumpelly ridge to the summit.
Isaac and his cousins, Jake and Ben, enjoyed climbing the rock slabs and ledges on the Spellman trail. Around here, the word “ledge” seems to refer less to the flat surface at the top of the rocks, and more to the cliff face below.
We avoided the crowds until the summit. By then, we needed to hurry back to the family cookout, so we sent Heather, Kent, and their two kids down as fast as they could go to start cooking chicken. Tyson, Isaac, and I followed on the White Cross Trail. The trail was full of people. There was even a park ranger at the one intersection pointing out the shortest route down.
On spring hikes, I like to hunt for the marks of nature’s progress from winter to summer. At the bottom, I saw two trillium in bloom. No lady slippers yet. Farther up, the trillium hadn’t sprouted, but the vibernum were bursting with large white cluster blossoms. The maple and birch trees have dropped their flowers, but haven’t leafed out properly.
From the ledges on the Spellman trail, we spotted lots of turkey vultures soaring back and form along Pumpelly ridge, some above us, some below us. We also spotted Tyson’s father flying home from a charter. We briefly flew our packable kite, but didn’t really have time for fun.
On the way back down, we watched a large brown hawk hunting to and fro over the ravines below us. Later, when we hiked into those same ravines, I heard chickadees calling all around us. I even spotted one in an evergreen tree, but couldn’t get a picture.