Monadnock State Park: 2012: A Hiking Odyssey

By: Jonathan Rager. Greenfield/Monadnock State Park Interpretive Ranger

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – “your next stop, Monadnock State Park.”

That is exactly how I felt as I first entered Monadnock State Park for the first time in January/February of this year. With friend, Ian, we climbed and realized that the terrain in certain spots can be rather difficult but alas, the summit! Windy, cool, and snow flurries all around, I kept this memory that seemed almost like imagination due to its beauty and splendor (hence the Twilight Zone reference). Five to six months later I returned to the legendary Monadnock State Park. I was intimidated by Monadnock and one of its many claims to fame as said by Park Manager, Patrick Hummel, “the most hiked mountain in Jaffrey, NH.” Which I learned upon waking up the first day in the Hiker Cabin and hearing voices as early as 5a.m. In the course of events, we began to re-explore Monadnock, or “The Grand Monadnock,” to be official and everything has changed. The cool desolated look of Winter, that oddly enough I take much comfort in, changed to vivid green landscapes with thriving vegetation.

Things have greened up a bit on Monadnock! Be sure to listen for the sounds of Monadnock as well. Especially the sound of a White-Throated Sparrow.

With the changing of these seasons however, this means more hikers.  Some might perceive this as a bad thing and sometimes it can be. When folks don’t utilize the trail in the middle and make side paths, talk loudly, or litter; this could create a negative hike for other or future hikers. For the most part though, communicating with other hikers is a real eye opener. It’s amazing how small of a world it is when you begin talk to some folks. “You’re from Pennsylvania? So am I.” The parallels of human conversation are endless so remember it never hurts to say Hello! The staff at Monadnock State Park is also very warm, accommodating, and good humored, who also have much dedication to the mountains health. When I first met Patrick, he was descending the White Cross Trail with toilet paper and other various garbage in order to direct traffic back onto the center of the path.

The purpose is to: prevent soil erosion, lessen hiker confusion, and increase native plant growth. To build a successful trail brush-in requires lots of human-power and hours by volunteers and staff, so staying on the middle trail is a great idea.

Jonathan’s Gems:

Falcon Springs: Hiking can conjure up quite a thirst, and we recommend plenty of water at Monadnock State Park. So please be sure to stop at “Falcon Springs,” and fill up your water receptacles. Located near the convergence of the White Dot Trail and the Cascade Link. The water is pure and doesn’t have an iron taste like the fountains at the trailhead.

Gilson Pond Area: This is the “Quiet side of Monadnock,” and will also be fostering a ponding program and a Hiker’s safety hike around Gilson Pond. When trail traffic becomes over-whelming, please come on down and join us at a program. There is also camping available in the Gilson Pond area.

Scott Smith and Henry David Thoreau: Only a few of important historical characters of Monadnock. Please be sure to check out their involvement at the park!

Visitor’s Center: Please be sure to check this little “gem” out. You paid an entrance fee, so why not learn a little bit more about that mountain you are going to hike!


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 AmeriCorps 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.

One thought to “Monadnock State Park: 2012: A Hiking Odyssey”

  1. I want to go hiking as a bucket check list for the first time this coming Friday with my two adolescent boys. Is their anything in particular that i should be aware of?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *