Angel and I recently drove to Hollis, New Hampshire to spend a few days exploring the countryside with our good friend Matt and his family. We arrived right on time for their cheery Christmas dinner surrounded by relatives and good food. Everyone stayed up late, so we slept in and got an afternoon start to a great winter hike, Mount Monadnock.
Our first trail through the forest was warm and flooded with melting snow. Spike booted hikers passed us on their way down, grating steel against bare rocks. It seemed strange that so many people would wear overly heavy gear, until we cleared the tree line and wished we had spikes too. The rest of the way up we had to navigate slick valleys of wet ice, and as we picked our way forward there were several spectacular wipeouts.
At the summit the wind was blowing fiercely cold and powerful. We looked at the view very quickly, eyes tearing up from the cold, and ran down between some boulders to eat lunch.
I got very cold sitting for just this short amount of time, so I climbed back up to take a few photos before I lost my nerve. The wind was gusting so hard it blew my hat off, but I managed to plant my tripod and keep it steady for this image of of the long back view.
On my way back to our lunch spot I hopped from boulder to boulder, lifted by the wind and clearing huge distances.
We started climbing back down, avoiding even more ice forming as night fell. I was sad to miss sunset up top, but we needed to pass the steep icy section with daylight on our side.
This is our last look at the view before we reentered the forest and walked back to the base in darkness. Since this hike we've decided to add some headlamps to our gear so that we can maneuver more challenging situations at night.
Soon I'll be sharing the rest of our trip exploring the Hollis countryside, and more winter landscapes from Bear Mountain State Park. Subscribe to our mailing list and we'll deliver natural adventures like this one straight to your inbox.