Posts Tagged ‘New Hampshire Mountains’

Recently I wrote about the Ashuelot River and how it played a part in shaping my boyhood, but the river wasn’t my only influence-other parts of nature tugged at me as well. One of those was our local mountain, Mount Monadnock.

I grew up in its shadow, but I don’t remember feeling the mountain’s pull until my teen years. That’s when I decided that I would be the first person to catalogue all of the wildflowers that grew on its flanks. In the process of discovering that no one had ever bothered to do such a thing I also discovered Henry David Thoreau, who had climbed the mountain several times and mentioned quite a few of its plants in his notebooks. I read everything by Thoreau that I could lay my hands on and credit him with teaching me the difference between seeing and observing. He was also instrumental in my becoming more interested in all of nature, rather than in just two or three specific areas.

It was only after I finally walked and climbed the mountain that I saw why no one had ever attempted to catalog all of its wildflowers; it is so big that it would take three lifetimes to do so. Someone who wasn’t working all day might do it in less time, but it would still be quite a job.

The word Monadnock comes from the native Abenaki language and means “mountain that stands alone.” It is said to be the second most climbed mountain in the world after Mount Fuji in Japan, because people from all over come to climb it year round. 

Local people love the view of Mount Monadnock, which can be seen from several towns and is why the area is called “The Monadnock Region.” People who want to see a view of the mountain like that above out of their own windows will pay a high price to do so; land with a mountain view is scarce and is bought up as soon as it becomes available.

Competition over who will have the best view of the mountain has gone on for centuries. Settlers in the nearby town of Marlborough chose the view below for the town meeting house in 1770.

 Though the meetinghouse no longer stands here the land is still owned by the town and is open to visitors. 

 This is one of the views of the mountain that folks here in Keene are used to, and is the one I grew up with. Monadnock can be seen from all over town but is several miles away. This view has appeared in many paintings by many different artists and curiously, to me this photo looks more like a painting than a photograph. I’m playing with a new (used) Canon point and shoot and I’m really not sure what I did to make it come out this way.

Poets, artists, writers, photographers-all have flocked to Monadnock. There are poems, prose, operas, symphonies, and dances written about it. Some say it is the most painted and written about Mountain in America. 


 The hike to the summit is from two to four miles depending on the trail chosen. Getting to the top takes an average of 2 hours but just like anywhere else kids run all the way and people of age sit and rest here and there. On a clear day you can see all the way to Boston, but beautiful scenery can be found at just about any time.

In 1987, Mount Monadnock was designated a National Natural Landmark. To learn more about the mountain, click here.

Photo of the view from the summit is by the Sierra Club.

This is the 100th post since I started this blog on March 20, 2011. Almost a year of blogging! Thank you all for taking the time to read it.

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