On Sunday, October 8th, three brave Ridj-iteers climbed the windy, rainy trail to the summit of Mt. Waumbek. The day started early: Liz and Kalin met at Wellington Station at 7:00AM, and before long their driver Alex arrived to pick them up. They made a brief pit-stop on their way out of Boston at Alex’s house, because he had forgotten to turn on the coffee machine and ensure that his sleeping wife had a hot cup of brew when she woke up - #truelove.
The drive took exactly three hours, as expected, with the rain starting right around the time our adventurers crossed the New Hampshire border. They were undeterred. For anyone interested in climbing the 40,000 footers of New Hampshire, Mt. Waumbek is among the mountains that just barely qualifies. The two-peak trek starts at the base of the Mt. Starr King trail. It’s about 2.6 miles to the peak of Mt. Starr king, and the elevation gain is at its most intense about half a mile in. This hike absolutely requires sturdy boots and a good level of fitness, and poles are recommended, but no ropes or other special gear are necessary.
Liz and Alex quickly bonded during the first leg of the hike, when the elevation gain was at its most intense, over the fact that they were “not in shape for this.” Kalin on the other hand was an absolute rockstar, and was soon so far ahead as to be out of sight. Alex, like a true friend, was a total life-saver and offered to let Liz wear an extra knee-brace he had packed when she realized that even her “good knee” would be in trouble later. #ridjitfriendsarerealfriends.
Just past the base of Mt. Starr king is a fantastic view point complete with mysterious outdoor fireplace: was it built to stand alone? Had a house once been there? Who built it? The world may never know. For our friends, this place proved an excellent spot on the way back for a break and silly photo-ops.
The mile between the summits of Mt. Starr King and Mt. Waumbek is a lot of down and up, down and up again. Our friend Kalin actually missed the Mt. Waumbek summit at first - walked right past it - and doubled back after walking an extra fifteen minutes and seeing a lake. Liz and Alex found her there in the clearing sitting on a fallen tree eating lunch. It was a pretty interesting place for our friends to stop and eat lunch: the winds were going at 30mph and nothing was visible through the violently swaying trees. Sometimes, you’re just that hungry.
On the way back the three managed to stay together for the most part, with Liz only having to run for a bit to catch up near the lookout point after she heard Kalin scream (Alex decided it was a good time to pull a prank). It took them about 2.5 hours to get back to the car, but fitter/less injured people could easily do it faster.
On the way home, Alex knew of a country club resort with a great restaurant open to the public: The Owl’s Nest. By the time they got there the sun was shining, and they enjoyed an early dinner with a fabulous view of the green and the mountains in the background before heading home to Boston. All in all, the trip to Mt. Waumbek was a great time, and all three would recommend it for anyone looking for a moderately difficult trail to climb.