Can you really take a hike named Ted’s Trail seriously? That’s like saying I can’t wait to pedal on Dan’s Driveway or drive the speed limit on Hannah’s Highway. Real trails have names like Mount Monadnock (NH) or Landscape Arch (UT) or Hot Springs (Santa Barbara, CA). Ted’s Trail lacks drama, gravitas, or a sense of outdoor adventure is at hand. Sadly, it smacks of small time, something easily forgettable. And to stay gender neutral, we’ll be hiking back on Carolyn’s Trail. I’m guessing Carolyn is a sweetheart with a mountain woman’s tradition, but what about the Mount Carolyn Trail! My expectations are low for our hike this first Tuesday in August 2022.
How wrong could I be? Mea culpa, mea culpa. Hikers the world over will love this six-mile loop woodland trail with views to, yes, the aforementioned Mount Monadnock. Our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip used the All-Trails App to find Ted’s Trail near Greenfield in central New Hampshire. Scouting it out two weeks ago, they chose it for the five of us to celebrate their son Owen’s 10th birthday hike with his grandparents. You might know them. One Dan and Hannah.
You see, Hannah and I are creating a tradition of hiking into the mountains of New England with our grandsons and granddaughters. Two years ago, we hiked Mount Major in central New Hampshire with Owen and just this past June we summitted Mount Monadnock near Jaffrey, New Hampshire with Owen and his brother Max (8). Our son Will’s kids (Brooks [4} and identical twins, Charlotte and Reese ) are swinging some heavy lumber and ready on deck.
Up before dawn, Hannah and I drive 70 miles to the Union Street Grill in Milford, New Hampshire to carbo load for our hike up Ted’s Trail and down Carolyn’s Trail. Muggy, mid-80s temps are in the offing so an early start makes all the sense in the world. Just opened this year, the Union Street Grill in the center of town gives us window seating as the town of Milford wakes up at 7 AM.
At the trailhead, we slip into two of the four spots for parking at the trailhead. Molly’s family slips on their Camelback backpacks of water as Hannah and I wrap our fanny packs around our waists. As veterans of this trail, Molly and Tip will guide us up Ted to the top of North Pack Monadnock. My superficial, most likely flawed, search on the Internet has it that Ted and Carolyn developed these trails and donated the land to the state of New Hampshire for us all to enjoy.
The hike begins with Ted who either he or a surrogate has conveniently nailed yellow plastic blazes to trees to guide us to the mountaintop. Ted’s trail is steep in places and follows a dried streambed. Though there is no such liquid exuberance during this summer of drought in New England, I can only imagine the cascades of water in springtime.
Blueberries abound at eye level. Molly picking them makes for an artsy picture.
Ever creative, Owen makes a cheese stick blueberry “sandwich.”
With 1300’ of elevation gain to the top, we have a serious hike. Thank you, Teddy.
After lunch at the summit we descend on the gentle Carolyn’s Trail. Owen finds more blueberries.
Ten year olds? This one is a joy. He is adventurous, creative, good company and during the six miles hike his energy never flags. Up for anything and grateful indeed, he and I talk about his upcoming fourth grade year and his life as a soccer player. The parenting he and his brother Max get is exceptional.
Check out our daughter Molly’s celebration of Owen’s life to date.
As the month of July comes to a close, we wanted to share a few highlights as Owen turned 10 last week on July 23! He is such an incredible kid who loves being active outside, playing with Max (the two of them have an incredible imagination and have such fun together), kayaking, reading and reading some more! Last year, he had a fabulous time in 3rd grade and is looking forward to being a fourth grader!
Here’s a short video montage of this amazing kid!
And in Owen’s words, here’s what’s on his mind and what he enjoys:
Looking forward being 10 because: being the oldest person at school
Some strengths: kicking soccer balls, being friendly, making friends
Proud of: my super-duper awesome family & my awesomeness
How I want to make the world a better place: spread knowledge of animal protection
Favorite colors: green, teal, and blood red
Fav food: gyros
Fav dessert: ice cream cake
Fav board games: Dragonwood, Stratego, Ticket to Ride, ShaThead
Fav sport: soccer
Fav books: Percy Jackson series, series about animals and/or mysteries
Fav shows: nothing recently. I’ve been enjoying movies recently
Fav movie: Penguins of Madagascar, Home Alone, Home Sweet Home Alone
Fav outside activities: soccer, biking, salamander-catching, camping
Fav inside activities: Legos, playing with Max “Legos or otherwise”, game time (playing Dig This or PBS online games)
Fav thing about school: hanging out with friends
Goals for the upcoming year: be a better goalie in soccer
Anything else to share? I really like soccer.
Just a little glimpse into our son, Owen!
We hope you are doing well. We wish you a wonderful and enjoyable August!
Molly & Tip