Apparently Monadnock State Park now requires reservations at their trailheads. That would explain why there were no parking spots left when Jody and I arrived at the Marlborough trailhead at 9AM. It is on a rough dirt road, so it is usually a quiet backwater. Jody is one of our newest neighbors. She picked up hiking this year during the pandemic, and ever since we have been trying to coordinate a hike. Tyson had already booked a company outing for the same Sunday, so it was just Jody, Isaac and I. Jody really wanted to hike Monadnock, so we drove farther down the road in the direction of the Dublin trail. About a quarter mile down, we found a pull off free of no parking signs. The trail and summit were equally crowded. Even at Isaac speed, we passed large groups. It was too bad we were harried by the crowds, the rest of the day was nice.
The fall colors are starting, as have the pleasantly cool fall temperatures. The bugs have blown away for the season. All morning, fog filled the valleys around Keene below us. Up near the summit, Isaac and I poked our noses in “caves” where the rock strata are pulling apart. Jody, meanwhile enjoyed the view. As usual, I added on a detour making the hike longer than I should have. We took Smith Summit Trail down to Monte Rosa where Isaac wondered why the Monte Rosa sign was a rotating weather vane. Isaac did not enjoy the subsequent hike back up the Marian trail to the Marlboro trail. He grumbled the whole way that we would get back late for the cookout. I think he imagined Tyson’s co-workers had started eating the potato chips without us. They hadn’t. We got home in plenty of time.