Welcome to our post-hurricane edition of the Monadnock Trails Report.
I want to start off with a genuine and heartfelt thank you to all police, fire, ambulance, rescue, and other personnel and volunteers that worked so hard before, during, and since the storm to provide help to their communities, wherever those communities may be. This includes all of those who worked and are still working diligently in restoring electricity.
Everyone affected by the storm is in my thoughts, especially those in my old home of Breezy Point in Queens, New York.
Despite losing power for a few days this week, Mt. Monadnock handled the brunt of the storm fairly well. But that is not to say we have not been hard at work cleaning up the trails and public areas. As of this writing, all trails on Mt. Monadnock are open, except the Pumpelly Trail (between the trail head and junction with Cascade Link).
Dublin Trail was cleared and re-opened late this afternoon.
We are working hard to re-open Pumpelly ASAP and to also remove downed trees here and there from other trails that are still safe for hiker usage. The most up-to-date information on the trails can be found by calling Monadnock State Park directly at 603-532-8862.
It looks like “Superstorm Sandy” has taken the warmer weather out of the Monadnock Region as well. The temperatures are colder now with the turn of the calendar. There is no precipitation in the forecast for the weekend, but hikers can expect colder temperatures. We do not expect to get above the freezing point above treeline anytime in the near future, so hikers will need to bring layers and be ready for winter-like air conditions.
Trails are still drying out and evidence of impressive water run off is apparent on many trails. The exposed rocks have dried off quickly, but many of the middle and lower elevations have running water, mud, and puddles. Be prepared to hike through it and do not be afraid to get those hiking boots dirty!
Very important! PLEASE REMEMBER:
Sunset on Saturday, November 3rd: 5:39pm
Sunset on Sunday, November 4th: 4:38pm
The end of Daylight Savings this weekend not only gives you an extra hour of sleep Saturday night, it gives you one less hour of daylight. Please plan your hiking times accordingly.
This week in Monadnock history
Keeping with the trend of the last few posts, we’ll look at more recent history again. It was November of 2006 when construction began on the Gilson Pond Campground at Monadnock State Park.
The area formerly housed an extensive, privately owned campground called the “Monadnock Recreation Area”. That campground featured, amongst other things, 160 campsites, a tennis court, a swimming pool, archery, a ski tow, a recreation hall, and cottages. I have a few of their maps and flyers in my Monadnock archives and saw they offered tent rental (who shows up to camp without a tent?), encouraged burning of trash in the fire rings, and allowed dogs. While dogs were allowed at Monadnock during the time, I wondered about how effective their advise to “try to stop barking” to campers with pets ended up being.
The State of NH purchased the property from the Bolles Family in 1978. George Bolles was very public and vocal in his opposition to the sale, but the state ultimately won out. The property was immediately “re-naturalized” by State Park staff and all buildings and campsites were removed. You can still find the foundation of the tennis court behind the new playground at Gilson Pond. Also, with a keen eye, you can find a small wooden sign designating site T12 along the new campground road.
The State intended to build a new, but smaller campground at what we now call the Gilson Pond Area. Finally, as part of the 2003 Monadnock Master Plan, a new campground at the area was formerly planned and would call for all of the family camping moved to the area from Spring through Fall. After the Gilson Pond dam went through renovations in 2004, the first new campground New Hampshire State Parks had built in 40 years broke ground this month 6 years ago.
The Gilson Pond Campground would finally open in 2010 and I think is one of the best in the Park System.
Gilson Pond Campground did close for the season last weekend. The Birchtoft Trail is still usable through the winter, although parking spaces are limited.
Family camping will be available on a first come, first served basis through the winter at Monadnock HQ!
B.Y.O.T. (bring your own tent)