I love being trail master whenever we go exploring at wildlife sanctuaries and other places so I chose Pine Hill Trail because it looked to be the shortest way to the top. It might have occurred to us that this would also probably be the steepest trail, but...it didn't. However, before we even got to the mountain, we took a little detour to Redemption Rock (accidentally, of course.) According to the website, this rock is GREAT because it is large and historic and, if you're especially into over-sized rocks, we're sure it's very exciting. We weren't exactly thrilled by it, though, even though Caitlin did get to use her jungle-cat instincts to climb to the top.
Oh, and if you do check out Redemption Rock (which we would recommend as part of a day-long exploring trip, not as the highlight of your day), please be careful driving down the dirt and rock path - it's very easy to lose control of your car when going over the rocks......
Once we got to the mountain, we were pumped to get started because we both had on our best hiking outfits and we planned on being pro-hiker the whole way up. We moved from Bicentennial Trail to Pine Hill Trail and, almost immediately, we realized that this was going to be a lot more exercise than we anticipated. Maybe it has something to do with constantly hearing about Mt. Wachusett skiing, watching the commercials on TV, and the idea that the mountain is in Massachusetts, but we thought it was going to be pretty flat the whole time - which makes no sense considering that we knew we were climbing a MOUNTAIN.
There were rock "stairs" almost the whole way up which made it easier but we also were laughing the entire time, which took a lot of our energy and made us really tired. Our pride was also bruised when a huge group of kids from the Boys & Girls Club came down looking like they were doing the easiest thing in the world. However, we did make it to the top and it only took us about 20-25 minutes (with frequent breaks!) The "summit" was great because it was so breezy and cool and you could see really far. It probably would have been better if we chose a day with less clouds, but it was still really beautiful and we both thought it was worth the hike. It would have been the perfect place to have a cute lunch but, again, we were unprepared for that.
When we were walking back down the mountain the thing that we had both been waiting for finally happened...I slipped on a rock and slid down the rocky path. I don't know that I have ever heard Caitlin laugh so hard or long in her whole life and we both had to sit down for a good 3 minutes until we got over our laughing enough to keep going.
All in all, the trip was definitely worth it and we plan on doing it again but using a different trail. If you do happen to spend the day there, we recommend the Countryside Cafe on the way back (in Sterling) because we had amazing sandwiches in the cutest little building you could ever find.