07.05.13 "White light goin' messin' up my brain White light is gonna drive me insane White heat, it tickle me down to my toes White light, I said now goodness knows." - The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat, 1968 The brilliance of Lou Reed/John Cale and the Velvet Underground have provided a worthy soundtrack to hot summer nights throughout most of my life; at least since I first discovered the band's music as a fanatic teenager. The utterly brutal (by NH Yankee standards) "white heat" and humidity in the Monadnock Region this past week really made me think of the lyrics above as being literal. The swollen sun and sweat-inducing humidity have resulted in many hikers struggling with dehydration and early symptoms of heat exhaustion this past week. Monadnock Mountain Patrol staff have been busy with aiding hikers who were not adequately prepared for the conditions. Be prepared and hike safe. We can not stress enough the importance of keeping yourselves and your hiking party adequately hydrated, rested, and protected from over exposure to the sun while you're on the mountain. Serious heat related medical situations can arise for even the healthiest of individuals if proper care and hydration are not being considered while recreating in these conditions. For most hikers, the 2 liter minimum of water in your pack will not be sufficient. Hot temperatures will continue through the weekend and pop-up thunderstorms will be possible in the afternoons. Please be careful and safe during this Holiday weekend and the upcoming summer days. Monadnock's trails are mostly dry, but at times, the humidity causes "sweating" on the rocks and they can become slick. Thunderstorms and periods of rain are possible in the afternoons this weekend and into next week. The rain could be heavy at times and the trails could become wet and muddy in sections if precipitation develops. Mosquitoes and ticks are still out, so take precautions and stay on trail. Monadnock Trails Week Our annual Monadnock Trails Week is only a week away! 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. Contact info is on the poster below. A variety of trail work for people of any skill level will be taking place over the five days. Some of the trails included for assistance this year are the Pumpelly, Dublin, Fairy Spring, Sidefoot, Birchtoft, Parker, White Dot, and White Cross trails, to name a few! They say it's your birthday... Even though it should really be on July 2, it was yesterday that we celebrated our Country's "birthday". This coming week, we here at Monadnock will be celebrating another birthday. Our new family campground at Gilson Pond will be 3 years old on Wednesday. On July 9th, 2010, after six years of construction and development following its conception during the 2003 Monadnock Master Plan process, the Gilson Pond Campground opened on the east side of Mount Monadnock. It is the first newly constructed campground in the NH Park System in 40 years. However, the land had been owned by the State of NH and was part of Monadnock State Park since 1978. Previously, it was known as the "Monadnock Recreation Area" and was a privately owned campground. The campground held many buildings, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a ski tow, up to 160 campsites, an archery court, recreation hall, and was a tremendously busy area. I have found record that the "original layout" for the area dated from the "1930's", although I do not know what the layout entails. I would have to think that the Monadnock Recreation Area must have taken more of its shape later on. In fact, the present day Birchtoft Trail leading from the Gilson Pond Area up the east side of Mount Monadnock I have record of being blazed in 1966; far later than the 1930's. The State of NH purchased the 217 acre site from the Bolles family in 1978. The Division had no plans to continue the operation in its entirety and by 1979, had begun to tear down buildings, remove amenities, and "re-naturalize" the area. Some foundations, paved sections, and access to the Birchtoft and Pond Loop trails remained intact. For nearly 30 years, the grounds were maintained, but not regularly staffed by Monadnock State Park. When the 2003 Monadnock Master Plan was completed, a path was set for camping to return and a new, but more subtle family campground to be built. Delays in the construction process prevented the new campground from opening until 2010. But, the wait was worth it. The new Gilson Pond Campground, (Monadnock State Park's family camping area from May to October, finally opened for business in July of 2010. The new campground boasted 35 primitive tent campsites (some with electric hook ups), 5 remote campsites, a flush toilet and shower building, a new toll booth, a playground, and a more quiet, laid back, family friendly camping environment. The campground filled to capacity for the first time on July 31st. The campground hosts nearly 5,000 camper nights per year, while open from May to October. When Gilson Pond is closed, family camping is available in the winter months back at the State Park Headquarters. Youth Group camping continues to use the Headquarters area year-round. The official opening ceremony for the Campground, in conjunction with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NH State Park Division, occurred on August 18th, 2010. Former Monadnock Managers Charlie Royce, Ben Haubrich, and Andrew Zboray were in attendance along with myself, Commissioner Goerge Bald, and State Parks Director Ted Austin. I am extremely proud to be a part of the next chapter for the Gilson Pond Area. The new campground has been well received by our visitors and I am so pleased that we can offer a much more natural, serene setting for our campers. Have you stayed with us at the new Gilson Pond Campground? If so, comment below and tell us about your experience. If you have not, I highly recommend coming to spend a night or two under the stars, in the shadow of the Grand Monadnock.