Climbing Mt. Chocorua

The idea to hike Mt. Chocorua came to me sometime last week. I knew that with Sarah having the weekend off, I would be able to do something on Sunday. First and only problem was the weather. As of last week, the weather forecast was calling for 60% rain. I was not going to hike Chocorua if the rain chance was that high. But luck for us, as the day grew closer, the chance of rain grew smaller. 50%, then 40%, then Saturday, it called for 30% after 4pm on Sunday. I was a happy man at this point. Before heading to work on Saturday, I asked which of the 4 children capable of hiking Chocorua, wanted to go with me. Bailey, Michaela and Elijah, were wanting to join me for this hike.

Sunday morning, about 6:30 came, and I woke up the children. They all still wanted to go. The sky was overcast but this was expected and warned about as a forecast. The sky was to clear as the morning sun warmed the atmosphere. I can tell you that that hadn't happened but the time we reached Chocorua. We got out of the car and made one last stop in the bathroom before heading up the mountain.

I had told the children about the mountain. Mt. Chocorua had an elevation of 3,475 feet. The mountain was made up of erratics left by the glaciers that melted many many years ago. Also the legend behind the mountain. To shorten the story, an Indian named Chocorua had a confrontation with a village family. They chased him up the mountain, Chocorua yelled out a curse, and jumped off the top of the mountain to his death. There are 3 similar but different versions to this legend, but what I just told you is in each of the 3. As you can tell by the picture above, Mt. Chocorua is a very beautiful mountain. It is one of the most photographed mountains in the world.

Now, the climb to the top took longer that I had hoped. Bailey 6 and Michaela 7, had to ask for frequent stops as we climbed to the top. Elijah 12, didn't ever ask and actually was the leader most of the way. The trail at the bottom was quite easy, but once we got to the mountain itself, things started to get a little harder. The cloud cover had started to clear up a bit. We could see the sun peaking through from time to time. But with the clouds surrounding the mountain, this meant that the rocks we would need to climb would be wet. This did not make for easy climbing at times. Things were looking to be a better day than expected though. We stopped some and headed up, stopped some and headed up. The we got to a big rocky area and we stopped there for a longer rest. It was clear that we all needed it. From there you could see the top of the mountain as well as some of a couple of mountains that surrounded the east side of Chocorua. And if you had you back to the mountain, all you saw was the top of the clouds. The lower level clouds were low and there was barely a cloud in the sky above us. Jackpot!

The climb to the top still hadn't been much easier. At some point overnight, these rocks we were climbing on had gotten wet and there was water coming down the mountain from higher up making the rocks really slippery. But we were getting closer to the top. And then finally it happened. 3 hours it took us to climb to the top. I had been to the top only once before and that was about 10 years ago, but none of the children had ever been. This was now the highest peak they had ever climbed. I was very proud of them. Michaela and Bailey had climbed Mt. Cardigan which was 3,155 feet high and I don't know about Elijah. 3,475 feet was now the highest either way. To be honest, this was my highest too! But that all changes for me in January, but that story if for another day. We were at the top and loving every minute of it. The colors of the leaves were a nice red and orange. The clouds had broken up so we could see most of the mountains in the White Mountains, but Mt. Washington wasn't on that list of viewed. It was still in the clouds as it spends most of it's time this time of the year. Weather changes up there are to blame. After some pictures and more well needed rest, it was time to head back down.

The climb down was rather quiet. We really didn't do much talking to each other as we did on the way up. Heading down the mountain took some careful concentration for we were now heading onto those same slippery rocks at a bad angle. I made sure the children followed me so that if I slipped and fell, they would know not to follow my lead and find a different way. The few bright spots during the trip down though, a snake and a toad. I picked up the snake and let all the children touch the snake. I wanted this to be as awesome a trip as possible so I didn't mind picking the snake up. I am not afraid of snakes but I just don't feel like getting bitten, even if I wouldn't die from the bite. The only thing that stunk about the snake, was it stunk. It made my hands smell something gross. Later on, we found the sitting on top of a rock. It didn't move or anything so I have no idea how Elijah spotted it. I whipped out my camera and had to take some pictures. It gave me some good ones.

So, after 6 hours total, up and down the mountain, we had to head home. It seemed that we all had a good time although I think Bailey will not be hiking with again anytime soon. He didn't mind the hike, but it was the jumping down off the rocks and landing on his feet thing he didn't like. About half way down, he started complaining about his feet hurting. I told him he should stop jumping down off rocks, but he kept on doing it. Oh well. Michaela hadn't a thing to complain about, or at least she didn't want me to know about. Elijah had a blast and couldn't wait to tell Sarah and Billy about it when he got home. He is looking forward to our next hike next month which right now looks to be Mt. Sunapee.

While on top of the mountain, I did plant a box called "Chocorua." It is for the legend that the mountain is named after. Yes, you will need to climb all but .4 miles of the mountain to get it, but the reward is well worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

:} What great pictures! This is my husbands favorite mountain too! :} Wonderful job, need to go and get your box up there now!