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Two years ago after a disappointing father daughter camping trip - too many fathers drank like pledge week frat boys - I took the family up mt. Monadnock. A late start had everyone but my daughter and me turning back short of the summit. For the whole next year my son talked about how he would like to do Manadnock again. In the fall of 2011 my daughter, son and I hike Monadnock. I had just run my twelfth marathon and my daughter was running cross country but my son, eight at the time, just flew up the mountain ahead of us. This is when I started planning more involved trips.
I figured a two night stay in one of the AMC huts would be a good way to see if my son could handle hiking a couple of days in a row or if his super speed burned him out. [For those wondering my daughter had started high school and activities kept her from hiking.] The plan was to drive to New Hampshire from Connecticut and hike up to the hut on day one, hike a 4,000 footer on day two and hike out on the last day.
During trip planing I decided to hike up the Basin-Cascade trail which is more scenic but longer than the typical hike from Lafayette camp ground, 2.7 miles versus 1.5. My only concern was that a bridge at then end of the trail was missing.
Eddie on the Basin-Cascade Trail
We hadn't gone more then a few hundred yards up the trail when a mother with her young son informed us that the bridge was out but easily passable. The rest of the hike was interesting as we slowly moved from warm Autumn to a winter wonderland.
We were very lucky that we were put into a bunk room with a mother and her two daughters. Both my son and the oldest daughter were in the same grade and they spent the afternoon running around and playing together. At dinner we even shared food cooked in the huts large kitchen.
Lonesome Lake Hut Kitchen
The next morning we said good bye to our new friends and took a day pack to hike up Cannon Mountain. As we hiked there was more and more snow but the trail was well warn and the weather was in the low 40's, sunny with almost no wind. I opted to go up the Hi-Cannon Trail because it had a ladder and I thought it would be easier to go up than down.
Eddie Climbing the Ladder
At this point I'm hiking in just a base layer shirt and pants as it is much warmer than the pictures would make you think. If fact those snow capped peaks shown above were quickly turning green as the snow was melting. Just before we reached Kinsman Ridge trail a warm breeze picked up forcing us to put on rain gear as the snow melting off the trees was like being in a rain storm.
Summit of Cannon
A high school group that hiked up after lunch had clear skies and little snow but posting pictures like this on facebook makes me look like a hardened explorer.
We hiked down the Kinsman Ridge trail, short but very steep to the Lonesome Lake Trail and were back in the huts for lunch. My son likes hiking so much that he won't tell me when things are going wrong for fear of turning me off to hiking so I decided not to attempt another hike that day. Later in the week I heard him tell his mother that the sharp downhills hurt his toes so I guess I got that right.
To fill the day we joined up with and AMC volunteer to remove a tree which fell earlier in the week.
Eddie on the now cleared trail
Our hike out might have been the best part for me. Eddie had gone from an excited kid running ahead and having to be called back or hanging back and just following my lead to a hiking partner. He would point out tricky footing for me and spot trail makings.
I set out to see if we could do multiple day hikes and found out we could but I had to bring a lot of food to keep a lean nine year old going.