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Monadnock Weekly Report 03.22.13

Posted on by Patrick Hummel, Volunteer Program Coordinator

03.22.13


“There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out…”
- Charles Bukowski, The Last Night Of The Earth Poems

 

Winter's grip is still firm on Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Winter’s grip is still firm on Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

On Tuesday, Mount Monadnock was blasted with 14 inches of fresh snow. Wednesday was the first day of Spring.

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Mount Monadnock before the storm. This picture is from March 18, 2013 (my 33rd birthday)

 

Mount Monadnock on the First Day of Spring, March 20th, 2013, after a strom dropped 14" of snow.

Mount Monadnock on the First Day of Spring, March 20th, 2013, after a strom dropped 14″ of snow.

You would not know it was now “Spring” around here. Deep snow can be found on all trails with the more traveled trails getting packed down first. The summit has a mix of snow, ice, and bare rock, although the snow is disappearing up there quickly in spots above treeline.

Warmer temperatures will soon soften the snow pack and make for some wet and frustrating hiking conditions.

This weekend looks clear of precipitation. Saturday will bring colder temperatures and gusty winds. Temperatures will warm a bit from Sunday into next week, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for trail conditions.

“Mud Season” looks like it will be ugly around here in the coming weeks.

MicroSpikes or similar spiked traction is recommended. Snowshoes will be helpful on lesser traveled trails.

The upper junction of the White Dot and White Cross Trails. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

The upper junction of the White Dot and White Cross Trails. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

There is enough snow left for X-C skiing.

I will be away for the next week, so there will not be a blog update on 03.29.13. Please call Monadnock State Park directly to check on trail conditions: 603-532-8862.

The Monadnock Weekly Report will be back on April 5th.

Barely in view on the horizon is the skyline of Boston, nearly 60 miles to the southeast of Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Barely in view on the horizon in this image is the skyline of Boston, nearly 60 miles to the southeast of Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

 

This (Almost) Date In Monadnock History:

 

On March 14th 1944, the Town of Jaffrey voted for and approved a plan to build an FM radio tower on the summit of Mount Monadnock.

 

There was almost an FM Radio Tower on Mount Monadnock's Summit, if not for a key land preservation effort by the local community. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

There was almost an FM Radio Tower on Mount Monadnock’s Summit, if not for a key land preservation effort by the local community. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

 

On June 12th, the town signed a lease with the Monadnock Radio Foundation turning over control of 200 of the 500 acres at the summit that had been owned by and protected by the town of Jaffrey since 1883. The prevailing thought was that the tower could broadcast the new FM signals to customers in a 100-mile radius. A high voltage electric line would be built from Route 124 up the Old Toll Road, past the Half Way House, and to the summit. A tramway would be constructed as well from the Half Way House to carry people and equipment. The town of Jaffrey would be paid a yearly rent and would get a portion of the profits.

Despite public outcry, the town selectmen said they would not cancel the already signed lease. Once again, a group of private citizens formed a protection committee; The Association To Protect Mount Monadnock. They distributed pamphlets and sought donations.

A view of Monadnock's Summit from the site of the Half Way House Hotel. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

A view of Monadnock’s Summit from the site of the Half Way House Hotel. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Because the proposed power line to the FM antenna passed through the Half Way House property, an agreement would also have to be signed by the owners of the Half Way House Hotel; Axel and Elizabeth Exel. They were told that the hotel would be hooked up and fed electricity by the power line; an ammenity the hotel never had. They would also be paid an annual fee for the use of their land. The Exels and the Radio Foundation still had not agreed on a fee amount by the end of 1944 and the Association to Protect Monadnock secured a purchase option on the Half Way House property in November. The option was set to expire in October of 1945, but the Association purchased an extension to October 31st of 1947.

Can you imagine an FM antenna in this image? Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Can you imagine an FM antenna in this image? Photo by Patrick Hummel.

After much heated debate and public outcry, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to deny a permit for an FM radio station on Mount Monadnock, siting that there were two other FM antennas in New England and that they provided sufficient coverage. The project was abandoned. With the land still needing to be protected, the Association acquired the Half Way House property from the Exels in 1947.

The property was then turned over to its current owners, The Society For The Protection Of New Hampshire Forests.

Still being run as a private enterprise, The Half Way House Hotel burned down (for the last time) in 1954. There is a clearing still existing at the site and a subtle sign to mark the area where the hotel once stood.

The lands owned by the Town of Jaffrey and the Forest Society are now leased separately to the State of New Hampshire for management purposes. Combined with the land owned by the State, Mount Monadnock now contains nearly 6,000 acres of land that will never again be threatened by private development.

March 2012 Sunrise over Mount Monadnock's North Ridge. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

March 2012 Sunrise over Mount Monadnock’s North Ridge. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Without the support, time, efforts, care, and voices of organizations and concerned individuals, Mount Monadnock’s summit and slopes could have an auto road, tramway, antennas, residences, and other unnatural features.

The things we now find at the summit are mostly the same features that have been attracting climbers here since the 1700’s: stunning views, interesting plantlife and geological features, and many satisfied and happy hikers and families.

I am eternally grateful to those who stood up for this mountain and preserved what we treasure most about Monadnock. We must carry their spirit forward and ensure the same qualities and conditions given to us today are there for tomorrow’s climbers, artists, neighbors, students, teachers, and admirers of our Grand Monadnock.

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September 2012, summit of Mount Monadnock. Photo courtesy of Mark Franson.

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About Patrick Hummel, Volunteer Program Coordinator

My name is Patrick Hummel and I am the NH State Parks Volunteer Program Coordinator. I work statewide supporting invidivual volunteers, Friends groups, Trails groups, and community orgainizations in our State Parks. Previously, I was the 8th Park Manager in Monadnock State Park’s history. I grew up in Jaffrey, in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock, establishing a fascination with the mountain at the age of 6. I enjoy hiking, photography, and traveling. I also enjoy non-fiction reading (mostly), Civil War history, and have come to the acceptance that I will never be the starting first baseman for the New York Mets. I am also an avid music fan with a former career in radio and tour management. I now live at the doorstep to the White Mountains. View all posts by Patrick Hummel, Volunteer Program Coordinator →
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One Response to Monadnock Weekly Report 03.22.13

  1. avatar Dave says:

    Thanks for the great photos……


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