A bad day on Mount Monadnock is better than a good day on … oh, forget it. Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day, whatever the setting. At least I picked a scenic spot to tweak my knee.
A few weeks back on this blog, I vented about people who did silly things and got themselves into trouble on a trail. I added that if I ever found myself in the same position, I’d ‘fess up. Here I am, as promised – and that didn’t take very long, did it?! I made two mistakes yesterday: I started up the Pumpelly trail much too late in the day, and I didn’t take the first bail-out point after the first time my knee buckled.
Serves me right for deciding on the spur of the moment to take a long hike; even twelve hours’ advance planning would have given me a chance to arrange to hike with a friend. It turned out to be a very long day. No long-term harm done, fortunately. It’s not the first time I’ve strained a knee; nothing’s torn or broken. My trusty and cheap little trekking pole was my best friend as I slowly and painfully made my way downhill at a one-mile-an-hour pace. I considered it imperative to be off the mountain before sundown via the quickest route possible, even though I had a flashlight. I then had a few miles of paved and manageable road walking until I got back to my car at 8:30 p.m.
Phoning for help, by the way, is not an option on the east side of the mountain or anyplace below tree line. I knew that and did not expect to use my cell phone for a distress call. This was particularly frustrating to me as I have two acquaintances living just east of the park, and a ride from them could have saved me that road walk. Oh, well – I wanted a hike, and I sure got one. Learn from my experience. Don’t ignore “tweaked” joints when hiking uphill. I should have turned around earlier. I had lots of time during my walk back to my car to contemplate my poor judgment.
Any other day, I would have loved the three trails on which I spent the most time: Pumpelly, Red Spot, and Birchtoft. Even on this high-traffic summer weekend, they’re quiet and uncrowded. I got a close enough look at the summit to see way too many people up there, and I’m not sorry I didn’t get all the way up to join the crowd.