12.28.12 Well, here we are with the last Monadnock Trails Report of 2012. It has been a great year here at Monadnock State Park and we're ready for 2013! Unlike this time a year ago, we actually have snow here at Grand Monadnock. While our neighbors to the south were experiencing mostly rain from yesterday's Nor'Easter, Mt. Monadnock received her first significant snowfall of the season. While some forecasts were calling for up to 2 feet of snow, I would say we really received about 12 inches, maybe a little more. Due to a brief change over of freezing rain in the afternoon and high winds/drifting snow, it was tough to get an accurate measure. Monadnock's summit has a mix of bare rock, ice, and pockets of snow. The accumulations blew around in very high winds yesterday and today. The trails are mostly covered with some fairly loose snow with some ice mixed in. The snow is not packed well, so the footing is pretty loose on descent. Even with spikes, I fell a few times. Some of the rocks are not very deep beneath the surface, as my left knee found out after one fall. You will definitely need your spikes, particularly if the summit is your goal. I would not consider crampons to be overkill, but MicroSpikes are needed at least. Barebooting to the summit at this point would be foolish due to the icy conditions in the upper elevations for descending hikers. It was a very raw day up there today with high winds reaching near 50 mph and wind chills well below zero. Another 1-3 inches of snow is expected to fall during the day tomorrow, which will leave the summit in the clouds for most, if not all, of the day. A cold front will move in by Sunday with some bitter temperatures that will likely dominate the forecast into the new year. Day time highs in the 20's accompanied by single digit overnight temperatures...at the base of the mountain. It will be even colder up top. First Day Hike Don't forget about the First Day Hike at Monadnock State Park and the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in Portsmouth, NH on New Year's Day! It looks like we will have some snow for you to have fun with this time. You can find out more about the First Day Hike at: http://www.nhstateparks.org/whats-happening/first-day-hike/ There is also a nice write up from our dear friend, Dave Anderson, at: http://www.newhampshire.com/article/20121222/NEWHAMPSHIRE03/121229648/0/NEWHAMPSHIRE05 Thank you for subscribing, reading, and hopefully sharing these reports and blogs. Thank you, also, for your stewardship and love of Grand Monadnock and support of New Hampshire State Parks. You're all a part of this profession's enjoyment. I feel privileged to be caring for a mountain that means so much, not only to me, but to you too. I hope 2013 bring all of you great health, joyous times, and fulfilling experiences. Happy New Year!