Just less than one year ago, Charlie Abert and I did what was a fun hike to Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, on a warm May day with the remains of the epic winter’s snow underfoot at the upper elevations. However, that hike did something BAD to my left knee. Since then, I got a new left knee and have been getting ready for a return to the trail. Now, just one day over 13 weeks from the knee surgery, I’m back in the saddle with a successful test hike on Mt Monadnock, along with Charlie and another avid hiker Mark. See all the pics or click on one of these photos.
The three of us took the trails that Matt Hansen and I did ~17 months ago, parking at the Rt 124 lot, heading up the road and up to the Half Way House site, then off to Monte Rosa knoll, then to the top via Smith Summit Trail. We took just over 2 hours to reach the crowded summit, ate lunch in the usual place, and headed down—very slowly for me—the steep part of the White Arrow Trail. I set a record slow pace, gingerly navigating the rocky path. Finally, just where we cut off to Monte Rosa and just above the Half Way House site, the trail got wide and smooth—a welcome treat for me.
I did fine. My knee seemed workable on the trail, with only a few stretches on the way up where I had to maneuver due to lack of agility. Coming down was a different story on the rocky and, for me, treacherous White Arrow Trail. On the first 2/3 of elevation drop in about half the distance, I made continued slow progress and longed for the less steep section. Mark and Charlie let me catch up a couple times. All together, the knee worked. Great! In fact, at home I felt fine after the drive back.
Summary: under 5 miles, 1600′ elevation rise, 4:25, nice trail via Monte Rosa and Smith Summit up to the crowded rocky peak, then down the steep White Arrow Trail.