My neighbor and friend, Pennie, and I and our Golden Retrievers,
Shawnee and Britt, hiked
up yesterday. It was a spectacular day for hiking because
it was sunny with a crystal clear blue sky and a cool temperature around 70
degrees. According to www.localhikes.com, the hike is 6 miles
round trip lasting 4 hours and considered moderate to the summit at 2,770
feet. This is confounding to us because
this local hiker determined the Mount Kearsarge North trail hike strenuous, yet,
by comparison, Pennie and I considered it moderate strenuous compared to the South Moat
hike. In fact, we considered South Moat
strenuous because at least halfway up, the trail is steep, almost vertical, very
craggy with boulders in some areas where you have scale up high
steps. Having trained four to five days
a week on our nearby mountain trails, we considered ourselves physically fit. But yesterday, we found ourselves climbing 20
yards or so to catch our breath. South
Moat encouraged us though to persevere with cool breezes and shady forest
allowing our heart rates return to normal.
It took us three hours to get to the summit and two hours to come back
down. This may be a more accurate time
because we were on parity with a young couple that we met on the trail and
followed them or they followed us as they also had to stop and rest
periodically. South Moat
I’m not discouraging anyone from hiking
trail because it began with a gradual path through the forest up a wide shaded
path along a drop off gaining elevation, while viewing the forest of pines
below. Eventually the trail crosses a
bridge and clear running stream where our dogs drank water and cooled off. The gentle climb continued until about
halfway up where the steep boulder trail began.
It’s not constant because the trail winds through forested areas that
were not as steep where we stopped to snack
and drink water. We hiked for about two
hours before we caught views of the neighboring mountains. Then we stopped at the open rock outcroppings
to take in our first glorious view looking southeast at the mountains towards
Chocurua. The dogs drank water out of a
small pool in the granite slab from the previous night’s rainfall. This view inspired us to reach the top no
matter how long it took for us to get there.
Three hours later we reached the summit and were rewarded with fantastic
views in every direction. South
Though it was an arduous climb to the top, Pennie and I discussed how to hike more expediently on our next long climb. Our energy stores were sapped pretty quickly when we reached the steep part of the trail. In retrospect, we should have fueled up at breakfast with a hearty hot cereal and a nutritious smoothie drink. We also needed to eat a snack and drink water before we set off at . Then an hour later, we should have had part of our lunch because it was our normal time to eat. Afterwards, when we felt we needed an additional energy boost, we needed to snack more often on granola bars, fruit, vegetables, or peanut butter on crackers. On the way down, we should have snacked because we were running on fumes and were just determined to get ourselves and the dogs to the car.
Pennie had the ingenious idea of filling her Camel water bladder with ice and water that she attached to the inside of her back pack. It lay directly on her back keeping her cool and also kept her lunch and snacks cool. She was also able to hydrate along the way by sipping water from the tube connected to the bladder without going into her back pack. I brought two water bottles that added weight and I only drank water when we stopped to give the dogs water taking off my back pack to get it. I didn’t want to continually do that because I felt it would slow us down even more, so I drank less water. I will now be using the water bladder!
We learned a lot from this challenging and wonderful climb and know we will continue our climbing adventures in the
Mountains. Our next big
hike is a 4,000-footer, . Stay tuned on Our Blog for that story! If you enjoy hiking or walking to the many
scenic sights in the Mount Pierce White Mountains, you can reserve on-line at the Buttonwood Inn or call us at 1-800-258-2625.