June 11th, 2016
The last time I went up Mt. Cube, I was 14 years old. My older cousin had invited me to go along with her family’s Bolivian exchange student. She was an Appalachian Trail graduate by that point, and I was all twitter-pated to be hanging out with her and the mysterious, beautiful Bolivian boy. He taught me the Spanish word for “oil.” (“Aciete,” just in case it was imperative for you to know how to say oil in Spanish.)
I’m heading out of New Hampshire soon, and I wanted to go on a walk with my Mama Bear, Barbara. I was thinking that Mt. Moosilauke would be an awesome hike for her to do, but the weather report notified us that the summits were going to be in the clouds, so we went next door, again to the small but mighty Mt. Cube.
…which just happens to be one of the first peaks on the NH section of the AT! We went from Route 25B, entering where the AT crosses the road just before Camp Moosilauke.
I chose this route based on the guidance from the Darmouth Outdoors page HERE. The page failed to inform me, however, that there is a much shorter and more direct trail just a few miles up the road (that you can see on my little map above).
I’m happy with the trail we decided to do, despite it being a rather long 6.6 miles. Mama Bear pushed herself just beyond her limits, which is a beautiful thing, but I definitely had to distract her a bit on the steeper parts of the trail with the classic “Tell-me-the-entire-plot-of-a-show/movie/book series-I-know-you-love-but-I-will-never-watch” tactic. This strategy is genius for any group struggling to get through a long day and seriously needs some mind distraction. It was developed one day on the JMT when, after 8 miles of walking downhill through the smokey woods and still not arriving at camp, Claire told us the entire plot to “G.I. Jane,” to get us through the last hour of the day. It was a great movie.
Mt. Cube is a relatively small mountain that offers a huge reward for hikers. The southern summit suddenly opens up to a 280 view that is -wait for it- free of highways, which can be a rarity in New Hampshire. It was so exciting and expansive to walk out of the trees and into the openness, with a warm rain suddenly hitting us.
I did a quick run over to the Northern summit just to check it out and was rewarded with a sweet view of Moosilauke-besides the fact that I got to run in the rain, on a dynamic trail, on top of a mountain; a favorite pastime.
Despite the weather there were plenty of folks sharing the summit with us, which made me thankful we had come the way we did. We had more solitude on the way down. It seemed a bit long to me because Mama Bear needs a slower pace for the downhills, but there was plenty of awesome flora and fauna to distract me as I went.
Plus, I got to share the challenge and reward of the mountains with the most important woman of my life.