The Monadnock, Climbeth!

By Jonathan Rager, Interpretive Ranger at Greenfield State Park and Monadnock State Park

There are many writers, poets, and artists who, became or become inspired by the majestic grandeur of Monadnock. The Grand Monadnock conjures many emotions in everyone that may softly tread upon its terrain, so why not try out your own artistic endeavor when you hike next. Bring a camera, sketch book, notebook, or even an instrument and become inspired! Below is a poem written by H.P. Lovecraft. H.P. Lovecraft was a gifted poet and fiction writer from Providence, Rhode Island and later known for his famous “The Call of Cthulu,” and many other short stories. Below is a lesser known poem of Lovecraft’s, please enjoy.

To Templeton and Mount Monadnock- H.P. Lovecraft 1917

In peace beneath the crystal summer skies,

Behold the spires of Templeton arise;

Among the green and grove-deck’d mead expands,

Whilst vary’d blossoms tint the smiling lands.

Pleas’d with the beauties of the blest domain,

No Goldsmith long could mourn sweet Auburn’s plain;

The rural grade Old England lov’d to view,

Here blooms again, transplanted to the New!

The rip’ning corn along the furrow’d leas

Nods in the sun, and dances in the breeze;

In stately elm and stout-lim’d oak we trace

Th’ enduring glories of New-England’s race.

Can ancient bliss from such a scene depart,

Or dull decadence pain the pensive heart?

Can with’ring change ancestral shades o’er-ride,

And aliens live where study Saxons died?

May fav’ring fate a kindly respite lend,

And keep the vale untainted to the end!

Look to the north where Grand Monadnock’s height

Enchains the fancy, and rewards the sight;

Such rock-ribb’d hills our own New-England gave

To mould her sons as rugged and as brave.

Ancient Monadnock! Silent pine-girt hill,

Whose majesty could move a Whittier’s quill;

Whose distant brow the humbler pen excites;

Whose purpled slope the raptur’d gaze invites;

Stand thou! Great Sentinel, though nations fall –

In thee New-England triumphs over all!


In our last segment, Dear Reader, it was the pinnacle of summer. The heat gave us a final judgment nudge into the cool waters of Greenfield or provoked us to climb up Monadnock on a trail that provided much needed shade, but the times, well they are’a changin.’ With the approaching Autumnal Equinox, several things will soon be revealed. Firstly, I would like to if I may, introduce three wonderful people. In the last blog on Monadnock, I spoke of “Triumph,” and how each of us may have a different perception of this term. Hiking up Monadnock with my girlfriend Sarah and witnessing her reaction as she was looking at the panorama from New Hampshire, was certainly a “Triumph,” complimented by hues of splendor.  It is always pleasure to hike with someone who provides good company and comfort, whether it is a metaphor for life or your day-hike up Monadnock.

The second person needs no introduction, well possibly. If you have visited White Lake State Park this summer, you were probably greeted by an enthusiastic, short, bearded man named Stamati Anagnostou. It is with great delight that Stamati will be joining us here at Monadnock State Park as we prepare for the fall season. Also, I will be transitioning to full time at Monadnock State Park as well from Greenfield State Park. Don’t worry folks you are in good hands, but please also note we are going into the Fall season. With that in mind, know, this season will provide views beyond views of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York, and their colorful new Autumn fashion line-up. Please note however, as we sink our toes deeper into the soils of fall season we are also losing daylight and gaining attendance, so please check with a ranger before heading up Monadnock. Also, bring a headlamp and plenty of food and snacks.

At last however, the guise is removed and we shall find out whom the third character is. Do you have any guesses?  You! It is you the hiker who begins and initiates a unique quest up Jaffrey’s most hiked mountain. While you hike, remember your actions can either positively or negatively affect the mountain, so make sure you pack out your trash (even biodegradable stuff, apple cores and banana peels, to name a few), and stay on the middle of the trail. When taking breaks; please remember to move to one side of the trail so that other hikers can pass.  The attendance for Monadnock is beginning to heat up, so bring your positive energy. Monadnock can provide a memorable and unique social experience as well. On my various hikes I have met many folks from all over and I hope to meet you as well!

Please join Ranger Stamati and I, Fridays* at 8pm, as we welcome you to Gilson Pond Campground. We will be debuting our program, “Monad-Talk: A Night of Magic, Mirth, and Merriment.” This will consist of stories, history, trail talk, and at the end we encourage you to share your fondest memories of Monadnock with us. This will all happen around a fire in the Gilson Pond Hilltop Area. Gilson Pond is roughly 3 miles down the road form the main park headquarters. Fridays in September*, 8pm, Gilson Pond Area. Won’t you join us? *There will no program on Friday, September 7th due to Monadnock Managers Summit in Jaffrey.


If you are looking for more adventures and more quality programming in New Hampshire, please visit fellow Interpreters, Andrea Klaphake and Maddy Hunt at Franconia Notch State Park.

Jonathans Gems

1. Volunteers.  Hard work and attention to detail is apparent when you climb this mountain. There are many folks who put much of their time into making your hiking experience a splendid adventure.  Please respect their work, while having a great and safe time.


Note the Cairn, or stacked rocks in the picture. This is one of many maintained by dedicated folks in Monadnock.


2.  Cliff Walk- So you walk the walk, but can you Cliff Walk the talk? Cliff Walk is a great adventure with a cool wooden ladder and many trail options. Relatively tranquil now, but again remember, we are going into the fall season.

3.  Thomas Wentworth Higginson- Thomas Wentworth Higginson, one of John Brown’s Secret Six, is an interesting character. Not only did he serve as Col. of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, but at the ripe age of 88, formed the Monadnock Forestry Association, in doing so and serving as president, he purchased lands that would eventually become much of what is now Monadnock State Park.

4.The Dynamic Duo

Allen Chamberlain

Allen Chamberlain and Phillip Ayres- Both of these gentlemen were instrumental in their involvement in the preservation of the Grand Monadnock.

Phillip Ayres

5. Greenfield State Park- A wonderful park to share interpretive ranger work for the summer. Please be sure to visit next year for more quality programming from Discover the Power of the Parks.


Just remember, in just a few months, one of your favorite hiking trails could look like this:


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.

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