(This trail head pic was actually taken when we came back to get Clifs Car)
Dawn slowly broke through the fog as we climbed Mt Watatic and it was light by the time we reached the summit.
I had started off with rain gear on but it was just to warm with temps at almost 70 degrees, and I was getting just as soaked in sweat as I would have been by the rain.
The Mid State Trail that runs north to south across Massachusetts runs along with the Wapack until the New Hampshire boarder. The Wapack Trail is blazed by yellow triangles for its entire length.
Around the New Hampshire boarder the trail levels off for a bit and follows old abandoned roads before it starts climbing the mountains of New Ipswich NH. The mountains in this area had a lot of ups and downs some being 500′ of vertical loss/gain. Most of the mountains had only little trees on the ridge, and there probably would have been a nice view if it wasn’t raining and foggy.
To pass the time I began counting Newts along the trail. I counted 31 in all. There were so many in this area. 4 in just this one spot.
We soon reached the top of Windblown cross country ski area.
The downhill areas looked like they would be fun on a powder day.
This section of the trail was recently moved and is new and easier to follow now. On the way down the trail on Windblown we found our first surprise of the day. Clif’s Dad Paul, who has hiked this trail a bunch of times, was the only person that knew we were doing this hike today. We laughed and ate the candy. And then laughed again when we got to the road and realized that he had hiked about 2 miles each way just to leave it there.
We found 3 other bags of candy along the way. Each one being over a mile from the nearest road.
This map of my gps tracks with all the mileage markers shows where all the bags of candy were. Paul must have hiked about 10 miles to do this joke. Paul wheres your Trip Report?
Anyways back to the trail; 10 miles into the hike we came to our first proper road. The trail actually requires walking on the road for a bit here, but it was well blazed:
after crossing rt 124 and reentering the woods we came to an old lost ski area the trail cut through the old, but still mowed, ski slope
After hiking for a bit we came to a quiet dirt road with a nice pond near Wildcat Hill. This is where I took my favorite shot of the day. A little bit artsy, right?
As we continued into Sharon NH we came to where the hike starts getting tough again. We had 3 peaks with around 600 vertical feet of loss/gain ahead of us. Both of our feet were starting to hurt from being wet from the rain and high stream crossings. The ridge between Burton Peak and Temple Mountain is probably really pretty on a clear day, but there were no views today. The 5 miles between Temple Rd in Sharon and Rt 101 seemed to take forever. We descended the trail which follows the old ski slope down Temple Mountain lost ski area and entered Miller State Park. Ascending South Pack Monadnock we were both kind of hitting a wall physically, so it was pretty tempting to take just cut through the woods and hike on road up to the summit, but instead we stuck to the Wapack to keep the hike official. We dragged ourselves up the Wapack and took a needed break for food and rest at the summit. It finally stopped raining while we were resting.
It was hard to get going again after resting, the rest only made it hard for me to get used to the pain from my blisters again. We dropped down the back side of South Pack and entered into the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. Leaving the summit of South pack is kind of the point of no return on this trail. Once you start down into the remote valley your committed to finishing the hike. This section of trail was really pretty but I was too focused on just putting one foot in front of the other to get any pictures. We made our final ascent of the day to the summit of North Pack Monadnock and saw our first dry rocks of the day.
From the summit of North Pack it is about 1 ½ miles to the end of the trail. It is fairly steep and was really slick, but we still went pretty fast towards the light at the end of the tunnel. My car was a happy sight! We were happy to see our last yellow triangle at 3:20 pm. It took us 9hrs and 20mins to complete the whole Wapack Trail.
Wapack Trail in a day done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My GPS stats
GPS Tracks overlayed on google earth