To celebrate this Father’s Day (2019), I ask our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip to hike up Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire with Hannah and me.
Many a good Dan and Hannah hike begins with breakfast out for some carbo loading. Fifteen minutes from the trailhead, our diner of choice is the top-rated Hometown Diner in Rindge, NH. Hankering for blueberry pancakes, I overstep by ordering three, when the waitress tells me, They’re big! The plate-covering behemoths do satisfy my craving, allow me to share one with Molly and Tip, and send home one for our grandsons, Owen and Max.
Knowing that Monadnock’s the most hiked trail in the United States and #2 in the world (See below for number one.), we arrive by 830A to insure ourselves a parking spot as well as a cooler morning hike.
Though populaire, the trail is typical New England – a mountain of rocks. The wide path up the White Dot Trail is stone after stone, one higher than the next. If you are hoping for a walk in the woods, this is not the hike for you.
Rather quickly, we are breathing heavily as Molly sets a pace that I love; she has a relentless commitment to the top, with nary a rose smelled. We stretch our legs to step up the mountainside boulder trail. Leaning into the mountain, balancing with our hands, we are greeted by stone slabs which require handholds to ascend. Though it’s a tough hike, eight and ten-year-olds are on this trail, too.
And then we spot two women, one with terror on her face as she explains she can’t go up the stone face nor does she feel can she climb back down. “Panic” is what she feels and articulates.
At this point, Tip jumps into action as he did two years ago when he escorted Hannah up a rock face ravine where she had fallen 25’ to a precarious perch off the San Ysidro Trail in Montecito, California. Today, Tip uses all his skill and confidence-producing words to support this athletic woman, who we learn is dealing with a recently separated shoulder. While Molly and I lead, Hannah stays close to the hikers distracting them with encouragement and interest in their story.
All six of us make the summit and celebrate with pictures.
As mountain hikers know, often the climb down is even more difficult. Rising to the challenge, Tip in front and Hannah behind support Amy on the alternate White Cross Trail down the mountain. The slower pace allows us all to bond as we learn about each other’s lives.
Successfully, back at the trailhead we feel like old friends with Amy and Angie. Our new hiking compadres are most appreciative that we altered our hike for them and to Tip for shepherding Amy all the way down. Fact is, meeting these women made for a more memorable experience than we ever thought possible; and as Hannah reminds me We are not here to see through each other, but to see each other through.
Mt. Fujiyama in Japan is numero uno.