Heroes of the Mountain

By: Brittany O’Neal, Interpretive Ranger at Monadnock State Park

Who are these Heroes of the Mountain and what do they do? Before I introduce the people you hope you never have to call let’s read the introduction to this blog post for dramatic effect.

Each year Monadnock State Park attracts more and more hikers. And each year the number of accidents on the trails leading to the 360 degree summit view increases. The usual accidents are rolled ankles, broken legs and lack of hydration or nutrition which leads to a rescue. Somehow those visitors have to get off the mountain in the safest way possible. But first let’s go over how to help prevent an accident from even happening by practicing HIKING SAFETY with these simple steps.

You can find these Hike Safe posters all over Monadnock State Park.

Now that we have gone over some steps to hiking safely I want to introduce you to some dedicated Heroes of the Mountain; we like to call them Ranger Patrol. This group of crazy cool people will carry 50 pound packs each weekend up the mountain to make Mt. Monadnock a safer place.

Andy(left) and Jon (right) at the top of the summit.
Tricia greeting hikers at the upper junction. Ranger Patrol directs hikers to go down the White Cross Trail because it is a safer decent.
Park (left) and Jon (right) getting ready for the busy weekend.
Slips and falls happen all the time. This hiker dislocated his shoulder while descending the mountain. Dave Targan was able to pop his shoulder back into place and send him off with a nice cushy splint.

Dave Targan is the master mind behind this operation and has 26 years of experience patrolling Mt. Monadnock. Dave has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of a top notch Ranger Patrol team. This team is well equipped and prepared for any situation that may arise on the mountain.

Dave Targan has been a big part to the success of this Ranger Patrol team.

Recent events have sparked the need for this blog post to inform the public on the seriousness of a Ranger Patrols job. Monadnock State Park had its first run in with a prank call regarding a hiker with a broken leg on one of the trails. When we hear that there is a visitor in need of our assistants especially on an injury as this, resources such as volunteers, state park staff and New Hampshire Fish and Game are pulled from all over for a carry down. It takes a minimum of 12 people to carry a person on a 40 pound litter off the mountain.

Here is the litter folded in half and turned into a backpack for easy transportation to the injured hiker.
Ranger Patrol along with park staff and volunteers are seen repelling the litter down some larger boulders.

Now you are probably thinking, well good thing it was just a prank call and nobody was really hurt. Yes good thing, however if a hiker was actually hurt in a different location on the mountain the necessary resources were being spent on this prank call. New Hampshire State Parks is a self funded system and it is imperative that resources are used wisely because an effort for a carry down takes a lot of time and money.

Rangers need to eat too! Here is Jon cooking his lunch at the upper junction.

Each weekend a wide variety of hiker travels to Monadnock State Park to explore “The Mountain that Stands Alone.” We have seen first timers to the park, veterans who have hiked the mountain before, first time hikers and experienced hikers. Accidents can happen to anyone at anytime, which is why it is imperative to practice HIKING SAFELY. One of the things hikers forget about is being aware of how your body is feeling. Some of the smartest hikers on the mountain are the ones that turn around because they do not feel ready to ascend to the summit.

On a busy weekend the summit will become packed with hikers searching for the beautiful views.

Now I hope this post did not scare you from hiking this mountain. Have no fear the mountain is here waiting for your hiking boots to safely explore what Mt. Monadnock has to offer. And remember the moral of the story is always bring cake for the Ranger Patrol team just in case you need saving!



Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

2 thoughts to “Heroes of the Mountain”

  1. Good article, Brittany! Thanks for highlighting some of the important work the Rangers do and advising the public on how to be safe while climbing Monadnock.
    We had the pleasure of meeting you on the trail. You very capably engaged my 2 grandsons in leaf and needle identification. You may remember the youngest is the one who found a black undergarment on the side of the trail! Thank you for handling that litter problem discreetly!
    Please check out my blog at

    1. Thanks for the comment Bruce! I enjoyed interacting with your grandsons on the trail! I’m glad I could be of service! See you next time!

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