Last Sunday Dianne Eno and Fusion Danceworks performed their 25th Anniversary Celebration of Dance on the summit of Mount Monadnock. The preceding week was miserable--rain, fog, damp, clouds, dark. The dance was postponed from Saturday because of the threat of rain.
As we drove to the mountain, we saw that the summit was covered by clouds. Rain wasn't in the forecast, though, so we weren't too worried about it. We parked at the headquarters and fought our way through the black flies along the White Dot trail almost to tree line. With my extra camera gear and both a mid-weight jacket and a rain jacket, I was definitely slow on the uphill sections (which, of course, is virtually the whole trail). The two boys left the two adults in the dust--er, mist. We had some nice views over the countryside, just about until we got to the treeline which is where the cloud cover was hovering.
At the top, the performance had just gotten underway maybe 10 minutes earlier. We expected to be much later, as we didn't get on the road anywhere close to the time we planned, and the hike went a little slower too, but there had been some technical issues with the sound equipment and the attempts to fix it meant we missed less than we otherwise would have. In the end, the sound system was inoperable, so virtually only the dancers and the sound man got to hear much.
It was pretty cool on the top, and I was definitely glad I brought the jacket. The hike up was hot and sweaty, but on top there was a cool breeze, temperatures probably in the 50's. It would have been very uncomfortable to stay any length of time without the jacket.
The dancing was marvelous as always! Magical, in a way, as on this occasion the dances were taking place in fog. And not just your run-of-the-mill fog! The fog was blowing in and out so that one moment everything around the dancers was nice and clear, and the next you could barely see them. Literally, the visibility was less than 200 feet (60 meters) at times. The clearest that it got probably was less than 1/4 mile (400 m).
I managed to get some photos and a few videos. The contrast was at times almost non-existent--a middle-gray scene surrounded by zones 4 and 5 1/2. The brightness level changed only slightly with the fog blowing in and out, from gray to murky. In the end when developing the photos, I wasn't sure how bright I wanted to make things. Should I leave things how it really felt--dark, dreary--or make the sky lighter and let more color through? For most shots, I opted for the lighter optimization. The videos were short--I had to take still photos, after all--and the wind noise occasionally gets in the way. But not too bad nonetheless.
Going down the mountain, the two boys again were way ahead of us adults. I kept the jacket on the whole way down, but probably should have taken it off. We followed the White Cross trail down the mountain. It was quite wet and muddy in spots (as was the White Dot trail on the way up). We adults definitely felt the exercise and were getting pretty beat well before we reached the bottom. Of course, the college boy who had been on the crew team was ready to go up again as soon as we reached the bottom. (When I was a couple of years younger than he, I had camped for a week at the mountain and typically did two hikes up and down a day. One day, we did it three times. We snickered a little at the fellow near the start of the trail who told us we'd never be able to get to the top at the pace we had set!)
Tired and sticky, we made it back to the car and were ready to head home--after a stop at Kimball Farm just outside Jaffrey.
What it is
South Central New England has quite a few places for some interesting hikes. We'll be focusing on major destinations: Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Wachusett, but won't hesitate at all to go off on some little trail with no name and no following or off to a far-away route (or maybe something only vaguely related to hiking). These are almost always going to be day hikes, but you never know just what we'll be seeing!