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Monadnock- Agent K's persective

Mount Monadnock. The third most climbed mountain in the world. And if you want proof, hike the White Dot trail on any weekend Memorial Day to Columbus Day. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of options on Monadnock to avoid them. Once such option is my favorite: the Spellman Trail.

Mt Monadnock

Spellman is the steepest trail on the mountain. It does not lead to the summit, but if you enjoy rock scrambles and unbelieve panoramic views- this trail is for you.

To reach this delightful trail, start at the ranger station off Poole road. Start by climbing the White Dot trail. White Dot is very worn and easy to follow, although it will get you warmed up. In about 2.7 miles, you’ll come to Falcon Spring. This is nice spot to fill your canteen (be sure to filter it) and take a quick break. To the northeast is the Cascade Link trail, turn right onto it. Almost immediately the crowds will dissipate, and you’ll start to appreciate the solitude of Monadnock. Soon you’ll come to a small creek that you’ll need to cross. There are plenty of rocks upon which to step. In about .3 miles you pass by Red Dot trail and continuing on is Spellman trail on the left.

Spellman starts off rather peaceful. You pass through a hemlock forest- dark and brooding. Then comes some fun- your first rock scramble. Keep an eye out for the white blazes delineating the trail. Atop this rock face is another small brook you can easily jump over- in winter conditions, going around may be the better side of valor. You are briefly back in a hemlock grove.

Walking on rocks

When you get the next rock face, the real challenge begins. For most of the remainder of Spellman trail you will be climbing and scrambling up the rock face. When you reach spots to take breathers, turn around and take in the view of the southern New Hampshire landscape. On clear days, you’ll be able to see Wachusett Mt and the Blue Hills. When you finally reach the top, the trail is mostly flat to it terminus at Pumpelly Trail. You can either head right and back down the mountain either via Pumpelly or Pumpelly to Cascade Link. Heading left will bring you to Town Line Peak and then onto Grand Monadnock. I usually head to the summit. The views are well worth the climb (and the crowd.)

If you are up for a second challenge, you can also spend some time off trail. Monadnock is known for its views but also for the hidden gems on its slopes. Nearby is Pumpelly cave. Not a cave but a hidden shelter but over a century ago by local teenagers. It is a secret spot on the mountain. To get to it is easy; you simply...

oh wait, its secret. Maybe next time.

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