“Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
– Christopher McCandless. April, 1992.
It has been another tough stretch of weather in the Monadnock Region this past week. Typically, due in large part to its geographic isolation, Mount Monadnock acts as a magnet for storm activity and if a thunderstorm develops in the area, it heads right for us. However, over the past week, Monadnock has dodged quite a few storms, some of them bringing torrential rains and lightning strikes to surrounding towns.
The mountain was not able to avoid all of the precipitation this week, however, and the trails were recipients of periods of rain, along with the warmer temperatures and humidity.
The trails are fairly dry now and today’s temperatures in the mid 70’s are a welcomed respite from the recent warm spell. However, we expect temperatures will climb again into the low 80’s this weekend. The forecast for the next few days has been changing regularly, regarding chances of precipitation. Hikers should be prepared, in general, for rain and thunderstorms at any time over the weekend. Storms may or may not crop up, but not being ready for them would be ill advised.
Giving Back To Monadnock
This morning kicked off the 8th Annual Monadnock Trails Week; a collaborative effort of volunteer trail work between Monadnock State Park and our friends and partners at the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Through July 16th, Mount Monadnock will benefit from five days and hundreds of volunteer hours in maintaining and repairing the mountain’s historic trails. There is still time to sign up for any of the remaining days if you wish. RSVP with Carrie Deegan or come on by for 9am at Monadnock Headquarters. Many thanks to the Forest Society as, without their coordination and leadership, Monadnock Trails Week might not be possible,
As the Park Manager, Monadnock Trails Week means many things to me. With over 40 miles of recreational trails sprawled over 6,000 acres of mountainous terrain, we, as a staff, can not keep up with all of the demands of maintaining Monadnock State Park by ourselves. So, the gratitude of receiving the much needed and genuinely appreciated volume of volunteer work assisting in caring for Monadnock’s trails may be obvious to some.
But, as I welcome and talk with a variety of people; different ages, backgrounds, and stories, I am always reminded about how deeply people care for Monadnock. As humans, one of the most valuable possessions we have is time. And, when a person voluntarily donates their time and efforts to aiding parklands, it is a reflection of that person’s values. Monadnock Trails Week is a helpful reminder to all of us that there are many people in our community that find value and importance in the same things that we hold dear.
I have always considered Mount Monadnock, like many places, to be a mirror, reflecting who we are. The way we view, utilize, think of, and treat Monadnock has always reflected not only us as a community through its history, but the mountain also reflects us as individuals.
It is no secret that Monadnock has always been there, for many of us, whenever we have needed it. The mountain’s strong presence is inspirational and its trails offer opportunities for deep connections with nature and each other. It’s quiet corners can offer natural settings for reflection, contemplation, and spiritual renewal. The mountain’s slopes and ecology provide for a natural classroom. The summit allows for us, in one huge swath, to appreciate the majestic beauty of our land.
The touching part of our ongoing relationship with this mountain is that we, as a people, have also been there when Monadnock needed us. Monadnock needs us just as much as we need it; the mountain needs you. There is a continuous 130 year history of people and organizations fighting for this mountain. The Town of Jaffrey stood up and protected Monadnock from private enterprise and exploitation. The State of New Hampshire stepped up and protected Monadnock from private logging operations that would have stripped her eastern sides bare. The Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests were not only there to save Monadnock from private housing developments, the Forest Society has continued to conserve land as recently as 2012, protecting another 400 acres of our beloved peak.
These organizations and leaders in our communities, caring so deeply for Monadnock, stood up, fought, and protected this mountain time and time again, waging and winning battles the mountain simply could not fight on her own.
Events like Monadnock Trails Week give us all, as individuals, ways to continue to give back collectively to a place that gives so much to us, much in the same spirit as those who have previously fought to preserve what we enjoy about Monadnock today. It’s a chance to continue to be a part of protecting, maintaining, and preserving Monadnock’s trails and heritage for future generations to connect with Monadnock, develop relationships with Monadnock, and to learn from Monadnock.
In greeting and admiring the volunteers who came out for Day 1 of Trails Week this morning, I recognized and extended my appreciation to all of them. I am still in awe, at times, about how much people will give of themselves to benefit Monadnock’s well-being. Building bridges, lifting and setting heavy rocks, constructing steps and waterbars, or raking out drain after drain on a summer day is not something some people would want to be paid to do, let alone spend their free time participating in. But, an event like Monadnock Trails Week provides opportunity and commradery in doing work that is important. The tasks are important to us because we know how important it is for Monadnock’s health.
How we treat, use, and share Monadnock will always reflect and expose our true selves, good or bad. But, for the volunteers and staff who are giving back to the mountain they hold so dear during the next few days, the reflection that is exposed is the absolute best of our spirit.