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Monadnock Weekly Report 06.28.13

Posted on by Patrick Hummel, Volunteer Program Coordinator

06.28.13

“[Monadnock is] the noblest-appearing peak south of the White Mountains, whose graceful cone seems a reduced fac-simile of Japan’s sacred mountain, Fujiyama.”

- Professor William Copeman Kitchin, 1920.

 

Monadnock's summit as seen on a sunnier June day. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Monadnock’s summit as seen on a sunnier June day. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Kitchin’s quote, above, may seem like it was one of the first comparisons of Monadnock and Fuji, having been printed nearly 100 years ago. But the comparison of the two storied and spiritual mountains a world apart from each other had been occuring long before. We’ll catch you up on that story shortly, but first we’ll take a look at the week’s weather and conditions heading into this first weekend of July.

Nearly each day of the past week in the Monadnock Region has  been built around a similar model; hot, muggy mornings and early afternoons which lead to strong rain and thunderstorms in the late afternoon and early evening. And it appears as if this recipe will be continuing through the weekend and into next week.

A birch log surrounded by club moss. Cascade Link. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

A birch log surrounded by club moss. Cascade Link. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Monadnock’s trails are still generally wet. The humidity has caused the rocks on the trail to “sweat” and if its not the rain creating slick conditions, the humidty is there to make up for it.

Stormy June clouds over Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Stormy June clouds over Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Hikers planning a trek on the mountain’s trails this weekend should be prepared for wet and slippery conditions in many areas, in addition to quickly developing and moving thunderstorm activity, especially in the afternoon. It will be muggy and buggy otherwise.

Monadnock Trails Week 

Just another reminder that the annual Monadnock Trails Week is fast approaching! For those individuals interested in volunteering to help with an array of trail work on Mount Monadnock for any of the July 12-16 dates, please RSVP with Carrie Deegan at the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The 2013 Poster for Monadnock Trails Week, courtesy of the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The 2013 Poster for Monadnock Trails Week, courtesy of the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

 

Nothing Compares 2 U

Mount Monadnock has been tied to different mountains through stories, tales, and lores for many, meany years. Most of the mountains involved with Monadnock, such as Wachusett, Ascutney, or Cardigan, are contained in New England and in sight of our treasured peak.

A view to Crotched Mountain from Monadnock's Red Spot and Pumpelly Trail Junction. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

A view to Crotched Mountain from Monadnock’s Red Spot and Pumpelly Trail Junction. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

But, a continent away, one famous mountain has been compared with Monadnock continuously, on many levels, for over 130 years. Like many heated rivalries in sports, it seems to be the fans that fuel the competition more so than the players, or in this case, the mountains.

The year was 1880 and the first recorded mention of Mount Monadnock and Japan’s Mount Fujiyama was uttered. It was an unnamed correspondent from the Fitchburg Sentinel newspaper in Massachusetts who called Monadnock “the Mecca of Southern New Hampshire and to its inhabitants what Fujiyama is to the Japanese.”

Japan's stunning Mount Fuji .

Japan’s stunning Mount Fuji .

The importance of the two peaks to their communities and admirers and their Spiritual and artistic draw were justifiably the basis for the comparisons for nearly 100 years. But by the 1960′s, the two mountains were dragged into a competition in the popularity race.

After a Monadnock State Park Official stated that Mount Monadnock may be the most climbed mountain in the world after doing some light calling around and researching other heavily climbed mountains, the Monadnock Region started to lay claim to that title for Monadnock.

 

A Mount Fuji Trail Map.

A Mount Fuji Trail Map.

Somewhere along the line, Mount Fuji was also drawn in as the top competitor and the debates began. After Mount Fuji seemingly pulled ahead of Monadnock in yearly visitation, Monadnock’s “fans” started to find avenues and reasons to fine tune the argument and knock Fuji out of first place. “Mount Fuji has a bus route part way up.” “Mount Fuji isn’t climbed to its summit by many of its visitors,” etc. Mind you, park staff have never engaged passionately in this bickering.

Of course, we’re also comparing two mountains that are very different too. Fuji, a volcano,  is nearly four times taller than Monadnock (a reminder that took a lot of wind out of the sails of the people trying to pick Fuji’s visitation apart). Fuji is a very busy mountain with hotels, hostels, and other large buildings, and a much deeper history. Despite how busy Monadnock’s trails are, it is currently mostly in its natural state.

Mount Monadnock's southwestern woods. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

Mount Monadnock’s southwestern woods. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

The “tension” between the two mountains seems to have subsided anyway with the recent finding that Mount Tai in China is hiked by more people than Fuji and Monadnock combined.

But, that still leaves Mount Monadnock as the most climbed mountain in North America and, even in the Western Hemisphere as far as we know. That should satisfy some.

For those that still need to take the competitive edge off, I like to tell them that Monadnock is the “most hiked mountain in Jaffrey, NH!”

Fuji is a sacred mountain that should also be appreciated on numerous levels, especially by Monadnock’s climbers. The competition aspect takes away and distracts us from why mountains are so special to us to begin with. I, for one, simply find it comforting that Monadnock is adored by so many people from so many different places and backgrounds. This is a mountain that has touched and inspired millions of people for centuries and that, alone, should be enough of a point of pride for all of us.

The beloved peak of Mount Monadnock. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

The beloved peak of Mount Monadnock, viewed from the Great Pasture Trail. Photo by Patrick Hummel.

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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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