Section 7 of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail-So Many Titles Come to Mind (Sept. 1, 2012)

View from M-M Trail Section 7

Well this post could be titled a few ways:

1. I never got my hiking legs

2. Hiking and Humidity are not the perfect couple

3. So many ups and downs

4.  Poor planning on our part

5.  I should have read Section Hiker’s report on this first
You get it don’t you? This wasn’t the best hike for us.  Our plan was an out and back of this section, going from the Notch parking across the Seven Sisters to the Tip Top House perhaps a little beyond that and then return the way we came.  Our plan didn’t happen, we made it 2.5 miles and then turned around.

The weatherman stated the humidity would break in the morning.  We have to drive an hour north from our house, so we believed it would be a touch cooler in Hadley, Ma.  We arrived at the Granby Notch Visitor Center Parking and quickly realized the weather was still hot and sticky.

parking

This trail attacks at the beginning with an elevation gain of 650 feet in .5 miles. No warm the legs up on this hike, you start the climb at the beginning.

start of trail

Along the way you cross over a shale field.

Shale Field

At the .5 mile mark you reach a rocky outcrop, with your first views out. The haze was just sitting out over the valley and there was no breeze to push it away.

looking through the haze at the valley

After a brief picture-taking session, we continued on.  The trail was a typical Southern New England hike, ups and downs, ups and downs. No nice little switchbacks to make it a little easier on the legs.

can you find me going up?

And down I go

This section was just a series of steep ups and downs. We did reach another area that provided a lookout, again the haze was hugging the valley.

bird soaring

What followed this view was another series of ups and downs, followed by a welcomed flat section.

 

ahhhh a bit of flat

Of course, this flat section was short-lived and we had to go up again….

more ups

We decided to go to 2.5 miles and turn around.  It was to hot and humid. I never gained my hiking legs on this hike and the smart thing to do for us was to turn around and head out.  We found a little spot to sit down and eat lunch, gather strength to return to the ups and downs.  After a 15 minute break, we gave ourselves a pep talk to tackle the ups and downs.

My strategy to tackle the ups was to pick a tree, hike to it, rest, pick another tree, get to it, rest.  This actually worked out mentally well for me.

We followed our path back.  We did stop one last time at the second outlook, the haze cleared a little.

Wearing Dirty Girl Gaiters

After the brief rest, we continued on, making good time, even in the heat and with tired worn legs.  The last downhill push went fairly quickly and we were very happy to end this hike and get in an air-conditioned car.

Somewhere on the trail, we realized we should have had another plan for this hike.  We should have not attacked this as an out and back, but rather a point to point.  We could have asked my sister, who lives in the area, to help us with a car spot.  Next time attempted section 7, that is what we will do.

This is a great hike for a workout and we did see one trail runner.  I would like to do it in the fall in cool crisp air with the leaves turning, so maybe we will return one fall day.  I would say this wasn’t my favorite hike and I know I need to give it another chance with favorable conditions.

The Details:  5 miles, 3 and half hours, elevation gain of about 2,000.  Short bursts of ups and downs.