I decided to celebrate the beautiful weather we’re having this weekend by going on a hike. I haven’t done any hiking since the middle of winter (a complete disaster that I’ll tell you about some time), so I thought I’d keep it simple the first time out. Wachusett Mountain is fairly close to me so I planned to head there but instead of going up the mountain, take one of the perimeter trails instead. I thought this would be a good first start, since I’m not in the best of shape and climbing to the top seemed a bit daunting.
I arrived at the Vistors Center, grabbed a map and after a few minutes of weighing my options, decided that Bicentennial Trail looked like a good choice. It circled around the base of the mountain and didn’t seem like it would be much of a challenge; I figured I could test out my new hiking boots and backpack without even breaking into a sweat.
It started out nicely but within a few minutes I found myself scrambling over rock after rock. There was a small change of elevation along the way, but the real challenge was to get through it without twisting and ankle or slipping off a rock. Eventually the rocks dissipated and things got somewhat easier. Over time, I made my way to High Meadow Trail and followed this down to Echo Lake, where I followed the Echo Lake trail to the bottom of the mountain.
Now I had a choice; I could either go back the way I had just come or try to get back a different way. Looking at the map, most of the available trails headed to the peak of Wachusett Mountain. This didn’t seem like a good idea since I was already a bit tired and would have to climb all the way to the top and then back down again. I decided to play it safe. I went up Administration Road, turned right onto Echo Lake Road and followed it to the bottom of the mountain. From there, I hiked along the highway for about a mile until I got back to the Visitors Center.
Overall, it wasn’t too bad. The weather was perfect, there were few bugs and the trail wasn’t crowded. Anyone in semi-decent shape could complete the hike with no problems but it just caught me off guard. When I started out, I figured I was going to spend a couple of hours walking, not scrambling up rocks. But I survived and I’m in slightly better shape than when I started. Now, I just have to keep doing this until I lose a few pounds and get to the point where I can go up and down the mountain like it was nothing.