Say, “Moat”!

The hiking meal of preference for my husband is a sandwich. And not just any old sandwich. It has to be a sandwich from Subway.

Clearly, if you bought a whole wheat sub roll at the store, stuffed it with some sliced chicken breast, spinach, banana peppers and Dijon mustard, that would be inferior to say, a Subway sub roll filled with ham, cheese, spinach, yellow mustard and banana peppers.

I’m just not sure how.

Regardless, this is his MO. So I go along with it. I’m supportive that way.

This is how it was that on Sunday morning we found ourselves in the Subway parking lot. Much to Owen’s dismay, they don’t allow dogs in the sandwich shop, so we waited in the car while “Daddy” got his lunch for the day.

Owen waiting at Subway

Waiting for Daddy

Happily, once T came back out with his Subway sandwich, we were able to proceed to the trailhead of South Moat mountain where we met our friend, WB.

South Moat trailhead

South Moat is a modest mountain of just under 2,800 feet. The trail, roundtrip, is about 5.4 miles long and the total elevation gain is a respectable 2,000 feet. I thought it would be a great starter hike. Or, more accurately, a great “first hike of the season” hike. We usually start a bit smaller than that, but I decided to go for it this time.

The first part of the trail was full of hemlocks with little undergrowth. Instead, a fragrant carpet of pine needles lay on the forest floor. To the right was a gorge ripe with spring melt off. We marched up the trail and over a wooden bridge spanning the rushing water.

South Moat trail bridge

Crossing the bridge put the water behind us and the trail quickly turned almost sandy. There was a decent incline almost immediately, though it was interspersed with flatter areas. None of us quite had our hiking legs yet, but it was a short hike and we were in no hurry. We were content to stop often and enjoy just being outside after a long winter.

Taking a break

I got some love from Owen while the boys talked.

Love from Owie

Because it was so early in the season, the black flies weren’t out yet, which was a blessing. What I didn’t anticipate was the sun. Normally, this would be a nicely shaded trail its early stages, but with the trees just barely budding, there were no leaves to screen us from the rays. It got hot fast.

Fortunately, Owen is good at finding the shade.

Owen finds shade

Owen's shady spot.

Soon we started hitting ledges where there was open rock face and some nice views. Here’s what Chocorua, which I hiked last summer with a fellow MilSpouse, looks like from across the way.

View of Chocorua 

The last stretch to the top was rough. My legs were sending me urgent “you’ve been lazy” messages, so WB and I took frequent breaks while Mr. Mountains-of-Afghanistan plowed steadily ahead with Owen. During one such break, WB turned to me and said, “Oh, man. Wait until you see what’s coming down the trail. This is going to make me feel even more like a pansy.”

It wasn’t the brown lab that came panting down, eyeing us with friendly curiosity. Dogs were not an anomaly on this trail. They were all over the place. No, it was the elderly woman who came after him decked out in a sweater and hiking boots and picking her way steadily along the trail with her poles. She had to be in her seventies. She was amazing.

We were slightly less inspiring. Eventually, though, we made it to the summit.

South Moat summit marker

South Moat summit marker

We took a look around and explored for a bit.

View from South Moat

Ignore the awkward leash position.

Then we settled in for lunch.

Me at Lunch

WB found the perfect little nook to make his hot cocoa.

WB's hot cocoa 

Can you imagine a better view for cocoa drinking? Or a nicer place to read?

WB and Owen reading

T manned our stove so that I could eat my soup.

T at the stove 

In all honesty, it was a little too warm for it, but I was hungry. Probably should’ve gone with Subway.

Owen found a shady spot for a while, but then perched on an outcrop to watch the birds. It’s pretty cool when you can see a turkey vulture fly by at eye level and I guess he thought so, too.

Owen on South Moat 

A fellow hiker saw us snapping photos and kindly offered to get all three (well, four) of us. “Say, ‘Moat’!” he said and we all laughed (except Owie).

Say "Moat"!

Say "Moat"!

After a nice, long break we packed up and made the trek back down. We didn’t stop as often, so we made decent time and came out around 4:30 p.m. It was a good day’s work and a nice – if slightly aggressive – starter hike.

Even Owen was tired.

Owen sacked out

Sacked out in the back.

7 responses to “Say, “Moat”!

  1. Wow, looks like a great hike! Glad you had fun. I always love the exhaustion that comes after a day of hiking…feel like I could sleep for days!

  2. You know how your parents always told you, “Don’t do that” and you did it anyway? Well, I paid heed to Owen’s awkward leash position and it cracked me up. Sabrina (my dog) just rolled her eyes at me. As for the elderly kick-ass lady hiking– J and I went on a hike when he came home from A’stan while we were in the Smoky Mts. The trail was called the Alum Cave Bluff Trail, it ascends Mt. Leconte (the tallest mt. east of the Mississippi River!). It’s the shortest trail, but also the steepest trail. I was dying before we even made it halfway up the mountain. And out of nowhere this little old lady comes trooping along (I was literally gasping for breath–I do have asthma though) with her two hiking poles. She bypasses me and J!!! and before I can get to the top of the mountain…30 minutes later, she has already started descending! I felt much older than my 24 years. lol.
    She did give me a sort-of kick in the rear to haul my fat butt up the mt. And the view was worth it!

    Glad it’s finally warm enough to get outside! Owen was starting to look pasty…*ahem*

  3. We have seen so many older folks hiking and they ALWAYS kick our asses. I think it’s kindof funny T needs to have his Subway sandwich for hikes. Anyway, super fun photos and you’re making me so jealous. I can’t wait to get out there and start rollin’ my ankles. LOL! Just kidding…kind of.

  4. therecoveringbrit

    What a great day for your hike – the sky was beautiful, so lovely and clear. Great photos, thanks for sharing. Owen is always a star, and never fails to entertain in them either! I can relate to T’s Subway fetish – that’s my fast-food of choice! I’ve managed to mostly convert Mark from his (pre-me) horrendous McDonald’s diet (and any alternative gross fast food location burger or other heinous food item) into a Subway lover. You’re lucky that T makes good choices! I feel like I’ve been socializing a 13 year old boy these past 7 months, hehe! Oh poor Mark, he’d kill me if he knew I was talking about him like this….

  5. That looks so awesome!!!

  6. Looks like such a good time. I really miss hiking! I love Owen…I like the feet picture :) And I’m completely jealous that you can drop Owen’s leash without him bounding off in another direction. Thanks for posting!

  7. That looks so awesome! I’m glad you guys had a great time getting back into things.

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