Grand Monadnock Mountain
The bald rocky top of Monadnock Mountain has been flitting in and out of my field of view since I arrived in Keene, NH. It’s about 3000 ft. and has an unusually bear rocky top which should by all rights be covered in trees. I was curious about that but in the often typical understated manner of New Englanders, I’d only ever heard snipits of info around town such as, “good climb” and that it had “a pretty good view, depending on the weatha.” I didn’t know it was in contention for the most climbed mountain in the world with 125,000 people going up each year. Seems that bare rocky top is very attractive and a perfectly challenging day hike.
So I climbed it last Sunday and took some pictures (it was a harrowing solo assent due to buddies being called into work.) I took the less popular Marlboro Trail which is about 2 miles long and took about two hours up. At times it’s quite steep, but no need for ropes and kids to stout grandparents were on the trail. It was a hot and overcast day with thunder boomers milling about the state watering things.
Arriving at the balded top was like entering a bit of a party. Lots of people milling about, including a ranger who was fielding questions, the most popular being “will it rain?”
“Storms are down south,” was all he said (It started pouring right as I reached my car on the way down and it was then that I realized he hadn’t said it wasn’t going to rain.) Talking to the ranger more revealed that Monadnock is quiet the little mountain!
First of all there’s not trees at the top because it seems that back in the late 1800s the wolves and bears who lived up messed with the wrong local farmers. The farmers got angry lit the entire top of the mountain on fire and just cleared it to the rocks. It’s coming back slowly they say.
It also happens to be generally considered the second most climbed mountain the world after Mt. Fuji. Or the first if you want to debate some folks on technicalities. The ranger said some folks out in “Califonia’ would say Mt. Whitney was, “but they’d be wrong.”
And the name Monadnock, an old Abnacki Indian name has been revitalized by the mountain and kept in the English lexicon (Definition) to mean any lone mountain rising above a plain.