03.15.13 "You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” - Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes A Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all this coming weekend. And it is shaping up to be another gorgeous couple of hiking days in the Monadnock Region. While the temperatures may be too cold for those yearning for Spring warmth, they will be make for favorable trail conditions at the midway point in March. As expected, some warmer temperatures and rain earlier in the week changed the conditions on the ground, as you can see by the two images below. From these images, you will note the obvious disappearance of snow at the summit. But, take a moment to also look below treeline and you will see that there is still a lot of snow in the lower two thirds of Monadnock. The summit is mostly bare and free of ice with small pockets of snow lingering. But, there is deep snow on the trails leading up there. As long as the temperatures remain cold, most of the trails are packed and solid, needing only light spiked traction for grip. It will be cold on the summit this weekend, with gusty winds expected Sunday, so bring your winter layers. Once the temperatures warm up again, the deep snow on the trails will loosen and create for sluggish and wet conditions. After this weekend, the current long term forecast looks mostly favorable for the trail conditions to stay locked in for the week as the Monadnock Region will likely see daily highs in the mid 30's. However, we might see some significant snowfall and/or rain Monday into Tuesday, so keep checking on the forecasts. The discussion from NOAA this morning stated that they "feel the departing high (pressure system) will keep precipitation confined to the following forecast period (Monday night and Tuesday). Read below for more...or choose your own adventure." Temperatures will also make X-C skiing possible, although the hard surfaces of snow may not make for great conditions. Unlike Wes Welker, it doesn't look like winter is ready to leave New England just yet. (Sorry Patriots fans...couldn't help it). The Rocky Road To Dublin In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, we will take a closer look at the town in which the north side of Mount Monadnock lies; Dublin, New Hampshire. The town of Dublin was established in 1749 and first known as "Monadnock No. 3" Nine towns established around Monadnock Mountain were originally laid out as "Monadnock" with a corresponding number. For example, what is now Jaffrey was "Monadnock No. 2" and Marlborough was "Monadnock No. 5" Dublin would not see settlement until about 1760 and finally incorporated as "Dublin, NH" in 1771. There is no record as to why the town was named Dublin, but it is believed one of the first settlers (Richard Strongman) was from Dublin, Ireland. Dublin became a prominent summer retreat for wealthy vacationers by the mid 1800's. Large summer "cottages" started popping up around Dublin Lake and a healthy arts community, heavily focused on Mount Monadnock, drew in many notable names. Monadnock's most famous painter and the "inventor" of modern day camoflague, Abbott Thayer, resided in Dublin. Thayer helped to start the Dublin Art Colony and he painted (and hiked) Monadnock obsessively. Thayer was also a key player in preserving land on the north side of Monadnock, assisting The Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests in saving 650 acres from development. Following the death of his wife, Mark Twain spent two summers in Dublin in 1905 and 1906. Twain stayed in a house between Dublin Lake and Monadnock during his first summer. The house he had rented would not be available the next year and he stayed at another house on Jaffrey Road. While he never formally wrote anything about Monadnock, Twain mentioned in a letter to a friend, “We like it here in the mountains, in the shadow of Monadnock.” In an interview that summer, Twain said Monadnock makes “an inspiring picture to look at.” Other summer residents and visitors in Dublin included Rudyard Kipling, President Howard Taft, Raphael Pumpelly, Amy Lowell, and William Preston Phelps. * Two of Monadnock State Park's hiking trails originate in Dublin; the Dublin Trail and the Pumpelly Trail. * Dublin Lake at the base of the Pumpelly Trail was originally called "Monadnock Pond". * Dublin is the headquarters for Yankee Magazine. * At 1,493 feet above sea level, Dublin is the highest village center in New Hampshire. * In 1940, there was an attempt to build an autoroad to Monadnock's summit from Dublin. The attempt was made after the first proposal failed in Jaffrey. The residents of Dublin also voted against the autoroad, passing a town resolution to block it. So, grab some Guinness and a Pogues record this weekend after your Monadnock hike. And, as the Irish blessing goes, "May brooks and trees and singing hills Join in the chorus too, And every gentle wind that blows Send happiness to you."