I’ve wanted to write a post about Monadnock since I first took this position as a Volunteer Blogger for Stay Work Play. It’s been one of the back pocket topics I’ve sat on wanting to wait until the moment was right to publish. Mount Monadnock is one of my favorite places in the world and when I finally sat down to write my post I wanted it to authentically represent why I treasure it so much.
I was doing my research on the history of the mountain when I stumbled across this article, which pretty much attributes Monadnock to being the second most climbed mountain IN THE WORLD only because of its proximity to the large population of Boston. The article went as far to describe it as an “unprepossessing mountain.” Synonyms to “unprepossessing” include “ugly, unattractive, plain, unpleasant, homely, and uninviting.” Now, before your blood starts boiling like mine did when I read this article let me point out that the author of the post has no credentials listed other than he “specializes in adventure.” In addition, the article belonged to an Australian blog who probably didn’t do its just research before posting its poorly informed commentary.
I’d like to take this opportunity to write a post about WHY Mount Monadnock is the second most climbed in the world with its 125,000 hikers a year, falling second only to Mt Fuji in Japan. And let me add, although I may be a biased NH native, I am also an established world traveler who will have visited my sixth continent this summer. I have snorkeled with sand sharks on the Great Barrier Reef – I have sat in the Devil’s Pool of Victoria Falls – I have seen wild horses running free in Mongolian deserts – I have watched the sunset on the Grand Canal of Venice’s waters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am a firm believer that until you have experienced a destination and absorbed its sights, sounds, and smells firsthand that you cannot form an accurate opinion.
I also strongly feel that the most beautiful, spectacular, and stunning moments do not require jet setting or exotic lands. They can often be found in the most unexpected of places, starting right in your own backyard if you simply take the time to look and be grateful for what the world has to offer. From the bottom of my heart, I believe that Granite Staters have some of the most amazing backyard views in the world. Specifically, the residents of Cheshire County are fortunate enough not only to live in New Hampshire’s beautiful countryside, but to also host Mount Monadnock’s presence in all her glory.
Here are my personal top ten reasons this mountain is kind of a big deal:
Monadnock is accessible to even the most novice of hikers and if taken slowly can be climbed no matter your fitness level or age. This mountain is not prejudice and welcomes all to explore her quiet forest trails and breathtaking views.
Monadnock is higher than any other mountain peak within 30 miles which means you will truly feel like you are on top of the world as you summit her peak.
The term “Monadnock” has been coined by American geologists to describe “an isolated rock, hill, knob, ridge or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain.” I’d say her name is quite fitting.
Her bare, isolated rocky top provides expansive 360 degree views while also providing a great backdrop for selfies, air jumps, and group shots no matter how crowded the top may seem. On a clear day you can see clear to the Boston skyline in the distance.
Early forest fires, which were used to clear pastures for farming or to eradicate wolves from denning, now permanently expose the bare, rocky mountainside, which would otherwise be camouflaged by NH forests. Might I add that NH leads the nation in percent tree coverage (with 89%) as cited by the United States Department of Agriculture. It’s kind of a big deal that naked Mount Monadnock isn’t blanketed by trees like the rest of her state.
Ever heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry David Thoreau? There’s a reason these world famous poets found Monadnock as a source of inspiration. As Emerson wrote, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Monadnock is a testament to this quote. She may not be trendy enough to require crampons or ice picks to climb or be a live active volcano, but her simplistic beauty proves there is value in staying true to your origins.
7. Family Friendly
Whether you want to breastfeed at the summit or bring your small children along for their very first hike of a lifetime, Monadnock welcomes all. Don’t be discouraged when a toddler passes you up the mountainside as the view is worth the climb no matter how long it takes you to get there.
8. Mother to All
Whether you’re admiring her from your own backyard, from a windy back road or from a day out on the lake, Monadnock is always looking down on her fellow neighbors. This iconic mountain holds a special place in the heart of NH residents for a reason. She is a historic symbol to all reminding residents of the magnificence of Mother Nature.
9. Faithful 365 Days a Year
No matter the season, no matter the forecast, no matter the day, Monadnock welcomes climbers to experience her beauty year round. Whether her fans are snapping panoramics, snowboarding off her ledges, or discovering the secrets hidden within her mountainsides, she faithfully stands day after day for all to enjoy. She’s no fair weather gal.
10. Heaven on Earth
Until you’ve walked among her clouds as if you were walking on Heaven on Earth it is hard to capture the magnificence of Monadnock. While the rest of the world’s mountains may be taller or more adventurous until you have summited her peak you will never comprehend what makes this climb so special. This mountain’s unique allure has been captivating the hearts of its climbers for generations and it will continue to do so for the years to come.
In conclusion, I highly encourage you to mark your calendars for an upcoming day when you can get out into the great outdoors and enjoy all this mountain has to offer. Be proud to be one of the 125,000 hikers who will make the climb this year and continue to let the numbers speak for themselves. Mount Monadnock proves time after time that in a world where you can be anything, it pays to simply be yourself. Happy Hiking!