“I walked abroad in a snowy day, 
I ask’d the soft snow with me to play;
She play’d & she melted in all her prime,
And the winter call’d it a dreadful crime.”- William Blake

a snowy view from treeline on Mt. Monadnock, 11.28.12. Photo by Patrick Hummel

That is the poem “Soft Snow” from the exceptional English poet and artist, William Blake, who’s birthday was this past week (in 1757). I’ve been a fan of his since my freshmen year of high school and the poem just so happens to coincide with Monadnock’s Trail Conditions and the current long term weather forecast.

There is currently quite a bit of snow cover on Mt. Monadnock, although the snow is light and fairly shallow. It is also disappearing slowly and being blown around by the wind. The upper elevations have a mix of thin snow cover and bare rock, with occasional pockets of ice. Light traction is encouraged for your hiking boots, but expect to beat up your MicroSpikes on the rocks. Hiking poles, for those who use them, will also help to keep you on your feet. The snow is making the trails fairly slick in many spots, so barebooting hikers should not hike up past any slippery spots that they don’t want to see again on their way down.


Hikers at the summit, Wednesday 11.28.12. Photo by Patrick Hummel


Cold temperatures will dominate the next few days and there is a chance for more snow through the weekend. More ice could also accumulate and form.

The “dreadful crime” of snow melt looks like it will occur after the weekend, as warmer temperatures and a chance for rain is forecasted for the Monadnock Region at the start of next week. Ice could also form in the upper elevations as a result.

It’s the time of the year to start packing your MicroSpikes, Hillsounds, Stabilicers, or light crampons, whether you think you might need them or not.

light snow or ice can highlight old Monadnock summit engravings like this one from 1804. Photo of antique vandalism by Patrick Hummel


No. No, it didn’t.

11.25.12. An amusing bumper sticker seen in the Monadnock HQ parking lot, not at the summit.

Did You Know?

In the summer of 2001, Elijah Barrett of New Ipswich, NH set the official record ascent time up Mt. Monadnock taking just 24 minutes and 44 seconds to reach the summit via the White Dot Trail. The time was officially timed by Monadnock Patrol Staff; a service they do not really offer much. Elijah beat out former Monadnock Mountain Patrolman Ken Peterson’s previous record ascent time of 25 minutes and 45 seconds set a few years prior.

I, on the other hand, like to spend as much time on Monadnock as possible, not see how fast I can get up and down the mountain. Different hikers have different priorities, goals, ojectives, and relationships with Monadnock, and that is ok. It is part of what makes this mountain special. 

And not that Elijah’s accomplishment is not impressive, because it certainly is and I, for one, am not a threat to it at all. I have much admiration for the physical prowess it takes to scale this mountain in that amount of time.

But, I kind of take a different approach to my hikes:

“Those who climb to the peak of Monadnock have seen but little of the mountain. I came not to look off from it, but to look at it.”- Henry David Thoreau


view off the North Ridge, Pumpelly Trail, 11.28.12. Photo by Patrick Hummel

  But I can appreciate the views too…


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