You may have heard about the wildlife and history of Monadnock State Park, but have you taken the time to meet the people who hike there? With over 100,000 people climbing its trails every year, there is never a shortage of characters hiking this popular mountain. I decided to venture out this past Sunday to get to know the faces of Monadnock.
The Annual Hikers
One of the first encounters while on my hike was meeting this friendly fellow. Being from Framingham, MA, he used to climb the mountain with his kids 20-30 years ago and continues to hike it each year. His favorite part about hiking Monadnock is simply being in the woods. His style is going up a less traveled trail to enjoy personal time and then down the White Dot to chat with visitors.
Henry is from Troy, New Hampshire and a frequent visitor to Monadnock. Like other regular hikers, he usually goes up and down the White Dot because it’s the shortest route. He can usually make it up and down in about 1 ½ hours. Sometimes he will go up twice in the same day-and surely beat most of us still on the trail for the first time! He started hiking for the relaxation and the chance to see wildlife.
This happy family is from Hanscom Airforce Base, MA. The Cronin’s decided to hike Monadnock for the adventure. Several parents hiking Monadnock went as kids and now want their children to have the same experience. Their favorite part of the hike was the view at the top. As new visitors, I asked if they would be back. They (of course) said absolutely!
This young group is from Boston, MA and decided to climb Monadnock for the first time to get fit and active. Their favorite part was the challenge and determination of getting to the top, but most of all, the scenery along the way.
The Dynamic Duos
These jokesters kept me laughing while I chatted with them about their hike. This was a first for Chris and the second time for Colleen. Colleen said their inspiration for the hike was a “last hurrah” before winter. Like many folks, Colleen’s favorite part was the vistas along the way, while Chris enjoyed the final peak at the top. They seemed to enjoy their hike so far and hope to return to Monadnock!
The Goal Breakers
Most Monadnock goers have heard about passionate hiker, Larry Davis. He has been hiking Monadnock since the early 80s, when he moved back to Jeffrey for the mountain. He eventually began setting hiking goals for himself, with his first big accomplishment being 84 hikes in the year 1984. His latest defeat was hiking 2,850 days in a row-almost 8 years! Larry now likes to hike Monadnock at least 300 times a year, but realizes he can hike other mountains and try new things. He also enjoys helping improve Monadnock trails with the skills he learned through the AMC trail training.
We can’t forget about our EMTs that do their best to ensure safety on the mountain. You can regularly see Dave and Sylvia hiking the White Dot/White Cross on Saturdays and Sundays to ensure the safety of hikers on our busiest days. Dave began as a volunteer EMT at Monadnock 17 years ago. He currently works as the Dean of Brown University on the week days and as an EMT at Monadnock on the weekends. Sylvia began as an Interpretive Ranger in 2010. Like many, the mountain drew her back in to help as an EMT and regular staff member. She loves being a host of a beautiful place and helping people when they really need it.
Although the hikers of Monadnock have different backgrounds and hiking experience, they all came to enjoy the most climbed mountain in America. I hope you can make it out to Monadnock this fall to enjoy the beautiful foliage and meet the unique faces of this irreplaceable mountain. Look for your Interpretive Rangers-Kelsey Johnson and Rachael Esh to help answer questions and make your experience more enjoyable!