“And I remember the couple, summering near the mountain, who recently told us they had not been able to persuade their teen-age children to make the climb. When I was young, nobody with two legs ever needed to be persuaded to climb Monadnock. Further reflection led me to conclude that if I had the custody of those teen-agers, I would personally prod them from behind, every step of the way up the longest trail, with the well-sharpened point of a ski pole.”
– Newton F. Tolman: “North Of Monadnock”
The calendar has turned once again and we enter the shortest month of the year, the typical last full month of consistent winter weather, and pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 10 days.
But, those pitchers and catchers are reporting to places in Florida and Arizona, not New Hampshire, where, despite another brief thaw here midweek, there are still signs of winter.
The Monadnock Region welcomed around 2″ of new snow early in the week, but warm temperatures and rain soon followed. Not only were any traces of the new snow quickly erased, but a significant amount of additional snowcover was also depleted.
What started out as a 50 degree day with driving winds and heavy rain on Thursday, turned into snow flurries by late morning and temperatures plummeting back into the teens by last night.
Most of the summit is bare with only lingering patches of ice present. There are still significant stretches of ice to be found on many of the trails in the middle and upper middle sections, so I would advise bringing your MicroSpikes or equivilant spikes with you.
Some trails that are notorious for water run off and ice accumulation will necessitate the spikes. This would include, but not be limited to, the White Cross, White Arrow, Red Spot, and Spellman trails.
Saturday looks to be a nice day to hike in the Monadnock Region. We are expecting partly sunny skies, some gusty winds, and day time temperatures reaching the upper 20’s at the base of the mountain.
Snow could be moving into the area overnight through Sunday night.
Next week looks clear and seasonably cold at this point.
Earlier this week, New Hampshire State Parks introduced it’s new design and logo for Monadnock State Park. The new logo will be featured on merchandise available at the Monadnock State Park Store this summer and joins the line of recently released new logos from other notable New Hampshire State Parks such as Mt. Washington, Lafayette Place, Franconia Notch, Pawtuckaway, White Lake, Bear Brook, Greenfield, and others.
We will let you know when merchandise items become available!
This Week In Monadnock History
For those of you who were not aware, it was 381 years ago this week that the first recorded sighting of Mt.Monadnock by a settler occurred.
On January 27th, 1632, Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop and his company had ventured along the Charles River and westward into Massachusetts on an exploration trip. It was determined from his journal entries that it was on this date that he caught glimpses of what would later become to be known as Mount Wachusett and Grand Monadnock.
Mt. Wachusett has played a role and has had a long standing connection with Mt. Monadnock, particularly in the arts. There is a lost tale dating back to the 1750’s revolving around an intimate relationship between the two peaks, “doomed to forever examine each other from afar, but unable to approach each other.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, who said that viewing Monadnock was a “favorite spectacle,” wrote of Monadnock for the first time from the top of Wachusett. He described Monadnock as a “sapphire cloud against the sky” in a work published in 1868.
Other notable literary connections of Monadnock and Wachusett include:
– On July 19th, 1842, Henry David Thoreau spent the night on Mount Wachusett. He later printed an essay about the trip in which he focused much time on the view of Monadnock in the distance. Thoreau visited Monadnock multiple times afterwards and it soon became his favorite mountain of all.
– In 1847, Ralph Waldo Emerson penned his famous poem, Monadnoc. While many people speculated that Emerson climbed Monadnock the previous year, there is no indication that he had. Some people think, rather, that Emerson wrote about Monadnock while camping on Mount Wachusett. Emerson’s visit to Monadnock and stay at the Mountain House (Half Way House) in 1866 is generally accepted as his first trip to our mountain.
– In 1862, famed poet John Greenleaf Whittier published the poem “Monadnock From Wachusett”, noting “Monadnock lifting from his night of pines, his rosy forehead to the evening star.”
– In 1917, Allen Bent wrote in Appalachia, portraying Mt. Wachusett as a “beautiful Indian maiden” and Monadnock as a “stern-bowed warrior…withdrawn to the North, standing aloof from mortals, yet not so far away that he cannot see his Wachusett.”
So come and let Monadnock inspire you.
I wouldn’t want to have to send you up the mountain using Tolman’s ski pole method!