Why Climbing a Mountain Kind of Sucks

Mt. Monadnock from a few miles away
Okay so I don't know if you've ever had an urge to climb a mountain before. It's kind of a weird urge to get, especially if you've never really done any hiking before (like myself). My cousin and I figured that we could do Mt. Monadnock, a 3,165 foot mountain, without any training or semblance of experience. We thought it would be a good shake up to sitting on the couch all weekend like we usually do while at college, which it ultimately was.

First off, "good" mountains are usually pretty far away. This one was only an hour and a half away from Boston which wasn't too bad of a drive. Mt. Washington and some of the other notable mountains are two or three hours away, which is a total pain in the ass.

But even before this, you should be thinking of what to pack. We learned the hard way that if you're just gonna do a simple one day hike you don't need to pack as if you were going to climb Everest by yourself. The only thing you should really bring is water, a jacket, gloves and maybe a sandwich. Everything else is a total waste of space and will make you tired and wish that you hadn't brought 3 flashlights just in case you got lost and it became nighttime. I will admit that it did get pretty cold at the top of the mountain and I was happy I had gloves to throw on. But when you're climbing up the mountain you usually are pretty warm from exerting the energy to get all the way up there. 3,000+ feet might not sound like a lot until you get out of the car and look up.

When you start the journey, it is probably most important to pace yourself. My out of shape self had to take multiple breaks before even hitting the steep parts of the mountain because I was going fast, trying to be a hardo, acting like the hike didn't phase me. Well, this was just stupid. I was totally winded before we even got a tenth of the way there. It's worth noting that we saw a ton of people on the trail, so there isn't a great deal of privacy if you're sitting down wheezing. Kids were running by us, too. Kind of felt like a chump. With that being said, if you need a break, just take it. No one really cares if you're on the ground close to death, as long as you're not in their way.

Now one of the worst parts about climbing this mountain, aside from actually having to get up 3,000 feet, was the fact that if you ran into an annoyingly loud group of people behind or in front of you, odds are that you will be with them for a little while. It's a good idea to take a little water break and let the idiots do their own thing so you can get back to focusing on nature and not passing out on the side of the mountain. I think that nature is peaceful and this peace can easily be ruined by teens who hate their parents, loud little kids, and adults bragging about how good their time is going to be today.

The view from the first break

About an hour into the hike, we decided to take a longer break to enjoy the view and have some lunch. If we're being totally honest with each other, I 100% thought this was the summit of the mountain. We had been going at it for a while and I was drained of all my energy, plus the view was super nice, so I just figured this was the peak. I turned around, saw the real peak, and realized that we were only three quarters of the way there, which was a spirit breaker to say the least. It's worth mentioning that if I wasn't with my cousin I absolutely would have thought this was the peak and would have started to descend down. Whatever. The view form here was still pretty breathtaking and it was nice to look at while I ate my soggy Tedeschi's sandwich.

Having to get up and continue to go up this damn mountain after sitting down for 15 minutes was terrible to say the least. The last part of the journey was filled with super steep rocks that required bear crawling so you didn't lose your balance and fall back into that group of annoying teenagers behind you. At this point, it got a little bit colder, but it was definitely manageable because the climb was tougher, warming the body up.

The peak of Mt. Monadnock in NH
Getting to the top was such a relief. I was so stoked that I didn't have to mentally yell at myself to keep going, a constant reminder of how out of shape I was (and still am). The view from here was something that I could have stared at all day if I had enough time to. You could see for miles and miles and miles without anything obstructing your view. The other thing that really stuck out at me was how silent it was up there. We took the obligatory photos at the peak but then descended a little bit so we didn't have to hear the conversations of the people around us. Here, we ate the rest of our food and just enjoyed the view. Granted, it was a little colder than it had been on the other parts of the climb but my gloves fixed my complaints. We noticed that there were no bugs, or any other animal for that matter. It was nice to be able to sit on a big rock and take in one of the nicest things that mother nature has to offer. We stayed up there for close to forty five minutes before deciding to head down before the sun went away.

If you have never hiked a mountain before, the descend sounds like it is a total breeze. Now, compared to the climb up it definitely is. But, compared to a normal walk it totally sucks. Your calves are on fire five minutes into the trip down because you're trying to control your body and trying to not run down rocks on the side of a mountain. My calves were sore for the next week because of this. Another problem with the climb down seems to be that if you slip at any point, you're basically writing yourself a ticket to the ER. The rocks are everywhere and make it real hard to keep a good pace.

Getting to the bottom of the mountain and seeing my car was one of the most relieving feelings that I have ever experienced in my life. Sitting down in my little 1999 Chrysler Cirrus after scaling the mountain was the best. There really is no other way to put it. There were times when climbing where I irrationally thought that I just was never gonna make it back to my car again. It is something that is not easy to do, so it requires a little bit of mental toughness.

Overall, I will say that climbing a mountain really sucks. I would rather do math until my brain shut down, and I hate math. But what sucks even more than climbing a mountain is how rewarding it is, and how I'm probably gonna try to climb another one real soon.

Side note: if you climb a mountain anywhere north of the MA line, definitely check out this place called Hometown Diner. It was definitely the perfect ending to that day because of how homey it felt. The food was nothing to scoff at, either.


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