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Recent Monadnock Hikes
Above: Mount Monadnock December 27th, 2017
Recent Hikes by Author:
My recent hikes will give you an idea of what kind of conditions may be on top of the mountain, in all seasons. For more information go to Trail News+Weather page.
My Recent Hikes:
December 27th, 2017, park my car at the Old Toll Road 124 trailhead and my car thermometer reads 2 F degrees and was as low as -3 F in Peterborough. I am the first to arrive. I hike up the Old Toll Road to the White Arrow Trail. The White Arrow Trail is getting a bit icy so I put on my micro spikes. The wind isnít bad above tree-line until I get to the summit. It is a bit windy but not as windy as recent. I stay for a few minutes in the shade and get a temperature reading of -3 F below zero at the summit at 10:20 AM. I head back. Heading back at first from the summit I am fully exposed to 30-35 mph winds making the wind chill factor of -30 F below zero. The air has quite a bite! But shortly I am dropping down the south side and the wind drops off and it isnít bad. I hike over Bald Rock then down the Noble Trail. The Noble Trail isnít broken in and there is about 18 inches of snow at tree-line and about 6 inches in the woods. There is one steep icy section and the ice is growing but I made it down in micro spikes. I head down the plowed gravel Old Toll Road which is coated with snow and some ice so I keep my micro spikes on. There is one other party of 4 and two cars at 124 when I get back near mid-day.
July 10th, 2017, Today the forecast is to be warm and dry day with low humidity. In Nashua, NH it is forecast to be a high of 87 F degrees (31 C) and in Jaffrey, NH where Mount Monadnock is located a high of 82 F degrees (28 C). I get to the Old Toll Road-Route 124 Trailhead late morning. I hike up the Old Toll Road to the Cart Path to Mossy Brook Trail. Mossy Brook is a vernal stream and isnít flowing much but is mainly pools of water today. It is a nice hike in an evergreen spruce forest, green and mossy along the path. I hike up the Great Pasture Trail. I hike up the steep grade through tall spruce and think that many mountains in the northeast you have to hike miles to reach a vista but after a short hike up the Great Pasture I break out of the trees and open ledges with views of the Green Mountains of Vermont as well as the Berkshires of Massachusetts in the distance with a touch of summer haze. I hike up Monte Rosa and take the Smith Link up the mountain. I reach the summit and snack on peanuts, M+Ms and an apple. I keep my thermometer in the breeze and shade. I measure the temp at the summit at 12:30 PM and it is a pleasant 72 F degrees on the summit (23 C) with SW winds about 20 mph. I head down the Pumpelly Trail to the Red Spot Trail to the old Smith Connecting Link to Bald Rock. Pumpelly Trail is a great exposed trail offering far flung views along the mostly bare ridge to Town Line Peak. Smith Connecting Link is another favorite with great views of the summit and to the east. Bald Rock is a prominent crag with superb 360-degree views. With a southwest wind, it will be a nice afternoon to hike down the Cliff Walk. I hike down and visit all the beautiful open ledges and cliffs that offer views along the spruce covered ridge. I take the Point Surprise Trail to the Halfway House site then down the Old Toll Road on this beautiful July day.
Above: Mount Monadnock October 4th, 2016
Tuesday, October 4th, 2016: Today Mount Monadnock is shrouded in clouds and fog. The cloud ceiling is low at just over 2000 feet at 11:30 AM. It is supposed to be a partly cloudy afternoon after a murky morning. I hike up from 124 up the Old Toll Road to the Parker Trail to the Cliff Walk. I go to many of the scenic outlooks along the way. I get to Bald Rock and the clouds have lifted higher. Now only the summit cone is in the clouds. I continue on and take a side trip to Inspiration Rock and the mountain appears out of the clouds with blue skies above and puffy clouds all around. I hike to the White Arrow Trail to the summit and there are fine views of clouds all around and a little bit of color down below with some red showing up in the valley north of the summit. It is a bit breezy with 25 mph NNE winds and it is cool on the summit so I put on a fleece and get out of the wind for a snack of peanuts M+Ms and an apple. There are only about 7 other hikers at the summit this afternoon. I hike down the Smith Summit Trail. I reach tree-line and take off my fleece and continue on taking a side trip to Black Precipice before heading down to Monte Rosa. I hike down the Great Pasture Trail to Mossy Brook Trail to Cart Path. I then take the Royce Trail up to the Halfway House Site. I head down taking a side trip to Little Mountain on my way back down the Old Toll Road to Route 124.
Above: Mount Monadnock August 30, 2016
Monday, September 5th, 2016: There is a tropical storm about 300 miles to the south so it is likely windy on the summit of Mount Monadnock today. I heard it was crowded this weekend they turned away 100 cars yesterday at Old Toll Road Rt 124 trail head. Get to the Rt 124 lot early if you want to hike there! I arrive midday but the lot has room today. I head up the Old Toll Road and up Monte Rosa. I break a sweat getting up Monte Rosa but the breeze is cool and dries me up on Monte Rosa. I hike up the Smith Summit Trail. There are a few other hikers heading up this way as well. I take a side trip to Black Precipice then continue up the Smith Summit to the top. There are about 40 other hikers on top about 3 PM in the afternoon. I take a seat with a view to the south and eat an apple. On the most exposed rock by the summit the wind is blowing steady about 30-35 mph out of the north. It is a mostly sunny day with a few clouds around. It is pretty nice on top today. I head down the White Arrow Trail then head to Bald Rock. Bald Rock offers nice 360 degree views then I hike down the Cliff Walk to the Noble Trail which has a great view to the SW and up to the summit. I hike down the Noble Trail through shady spruce with glimpses of views off to the distance. I hike down the Old Toll Road back to 124 on this nice summer day.
Above: White Arrow Trail January 4, 2016
Tuesday, January 5th, 2016: My car thermometer reads 19 degrees at 12:30 PM at the Route 124 Old Toll Road Trail head. I head up the Old Toll Road. It finally looks like winter after a recent storm at the end of a very mild and nearly snowless December. I reach White Arrow Trail and there is about 2-3 inches of snow but it is really a solid crust of white and slick so I put on my micro spikes. Microspikes work well in these conditions crunching into the solid white stuff. I hike up to Monte Rosa and take the Smith Summit Trail to the Amphitheater trail. On the sunny south facing exposures it is a nice fine day. I reach tree-line on the White Arrow and put on my coat because it is windy and blustery. Above tree-line there is crusty snow and ice. There are foot steps into the steeper solid white slopes which help me up as well as down the mountain. On top it is 13 F degrees with a NW wind blowing 35 mph making for a bite to the air on the summit which is typical for this time of year. The White Mountains stand out as white peaks in the distance including Mount Washington, Mount Lafayette, as well as Mount Moosilauke way of in the distance to the north. There is pretty much blue skies from horizon to horizon except the southeast where there is some ocean effect snow in southeast Massachusetts. I head down over Bald Rock and take the Cliff Walk to the Point Surprise Trail as the sun sets. I hike down the Old Toll Road at dusk with the bare trees mixed with pines silhouetted in the sky.
Above: A late autumn day on Point Surprise November 2, 2015
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015: Today is forecast to be a warm November day with temps near 70 F degrees in the valleys. I hike up the Old Toll Road around mid-day. There is a refreshing breeze and through the patchy bare trees a warm sun is shining. There is some color but the late season oak trees have turned brown mixed with the evergreen spruce along the way. I head past the Halfway House Site and head up the Monte Rosa Trail. Atop Monte Rosa I cool off after breaking a light sweat. There is a touch of haze looking off to the distant Green Mountains of Vermont. I hike up the Smith Summit Trail and take a short side trip to Black Precipice before resuming my hike to the summit. It is quite breezy above tree-line on the exposed Smith Summit Trail. I put a fleece on at Billing's Fold. I continue up to the summit where there is about a few dozen people around the summit area. The views are great in all directions. It is a cool 53 F degrees in the shade near the summit with winds a brisk WSW 35 mph. I head down the Pumpelly Trail to the Red Spot Trail and take the old Smith Connecting Link which can still be followed to Bald Rock. I head down the Cliff Walk checking out all the views that are offered from the numerous cliffs along the way. I reach Point Surprise on top a a clff that drops off to the past peak autumn color below. The sun is getting low. I take the Point Surprise Trail to the Old Toll Road down to route 124.
Above: Mount Monadnock, October 2, 2015
Friday, October 2nd, 2015: It is a cool start with the temperature about 50 F this late morning. I head up the Old Toll Road to the Halfway House Site and up the Monte Rosa Trail. I get warmed up and hike up in shorts and t-shirt until I reach Monte Rosa. I put my fleece back on because it is breezy and cool. After a short break I head up the Smith Summit Trail. I pass the Tooth then I take a side trip to Black Precipice. I continue up the Smith Summit passing a few ledgy outcroppings that offer views before reaching tree-line. Smith Summit Trail barren ledges offers expansive views southward across Massachusetts and west across the Connecticut River Valley to Vermont's Green Mountains. Shortly before reaching the summit I turn right along the base of Billing's Fold and decide to climb up the easy route on the right side. (Billing's Fold isn't for small children without being roped up). I saw a group roped up climbing here a few years ago. After studying the route to see if I can do it, I climb up. It is exhilerating climbing up steep ledge nearly 3000 feet above the surrounding landscape. It may not be a good route if you are afraid of heights. There are a few big steps but it is a short climb up Billing's Fold to reach level ledge near the White Arrow Trail. From here I head to the summit. Today is the first time I climbed via Billing's Fold up the mountain. I put on my jacket over my fleece. It is quite cool and windy on the summit. On the summit it was about 40 F degrees and a wind of 35 mph. I am surprised to see the White Mountains including Mount Washington visable in the distance. It is overcast and grey skies of a nor-easter to the south. The other hikers on top are also dressed for the cold. I head down the White Arrow Trail. Upon dropping steeply down from the summit the northeast wind gets cut off. I head over Bald Rock and take the Cliff Walk down. I notice in the distance to the south it looks like rain. There are some bright autumn colors just starting to come out but it is mostly green as viewed from the cliffs of the Cliff Walk. I wind my way down to the Parker Trail then hike up Little Mountain. I notice it looks like rain as near as Mount Watchusett in Mass. It does not rain here as I head down the Old Toll Road to my car.
Above: On Billing's Fold, October 2, 2015
Above: Mount Monadnock in the morning, July 28, 2015
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015: It is going to be a warm humid mid-summer day with a chance of afternoon storms. It is foggy as I approach Mount Monadnock going over Temple Mountain on Route 101. It is foggy into Peterboro and Jaffrey but I can see the mountain from route 124 just before reaching the trailhead and the start of my hike. I hike up the Old Toll Road this early morning. I take the Fairy Spring Trail which has recently been improved with rock steps on some uphill sections as well as across Fassett Brook. I head up Monte Rosa and I am above the clouds. I head up the Smith Summit trail to the summit of Mount Monadnock. Gap Mountain and Little Monadnock Mountain look like islands rising above a sea of fog. North and South Pack Monadnock Mountain also rise above the clouds. It is a nice morning sky scene with the sun shining throught the clouds above and luminating the clouds and fog below. I take the Pumpelly Trail to the Red Spot Trail to Smith Link to Bald Rock. I pick some blueberries I find along the way. The fog melts away below and the sky turns clear with hazy blue skies. I take the Cliff Walk enjoying the scenery from the cliffs on the way down. There is a nice light west breeze along the Cliff Walk to refresh me on this warm sunny day. Down in the woods below a new ladder has been constructed to climb down one spot along the Cliff Walk. I take the Parker Trail to the Old Toll Road. It is near mid day now and quite a few people are starting up the hill on this warm day.
Above: Smith Trail, Oct 27, 2014
Monday, October 27th, 2014: Today is a typical cool refreshing autumn day. I hike up the Old Toll Road and take a side trip to Little Mountain. The berry bushes are red and the nearby scenery is some nice past peak bronze foliage dappled with green pines and several ponds. I hike up the Old Toll Road to the Halfway House Site then down the Royce Trail to the Cart Path. I head out to some viewpoints and head up the Great Pasture Trail up Monte Rosa. I head to the summit which is windy and cool. I hike the Pumpelly Trail to Town Line Peak. The views are splendid with clear views of the Green Mountains of Vermont as well as Boston. The White Mountains are hidden behind clouds. The foliage to the north of the mountain is past peak with many of the trees turning bare below. I take the Smith Connecting Link to Bald Rock and the Cliff Walk down to the Parker Trail. I go to all the viewpoints and seats along the way near the path. I head down the Old Toll Road as it is starting to get dark finishing a 9.5 mile hike.
Above: Frederick Pitcher on Town Line Peak, Mount Monadnock
September 3rd, 2014
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014: It is a warm day forecast to be in the high 80's with low humidity in the valleys. I head up the Old Toll Road to the Halfway House Site. The view is nice from the small pasture at the site. I hike down the Royce Trail to the Cart Path to Mossy Brook Trail to Great Pasture Trail up Monte Rosa. There is a west breeze that dries the sweat off me. I head for the summit of Mount Monadnock and it is quite breezy and pleasant on top. School just started everywhere and the mountain is quiet this week. There are only a few other hikers right now on top this afternoon. You can see Boston, the Green Mountains, Mount Moosilauke clearly and very faintly the distant Franconia Mountains. I hike the Pumpelly Trail to Town Line Peak and the Crag right before Cascade Link then retrace my steps back. I take the Smith Connecting Link to Bald Rock and take the Cliff Walk down. My thermometer read 67 F degrees in the shade on Bald Rock. I go to all the seats and viewpoints along the way. I take the Hello Rock Trail to the Old Toll Road. I finish my tour with a visit to Little Mountain.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014: The parking lots have been nearly full on the weekends with the recent beautiful summer weather. It rains heavy into midday today this mild humid Sunday. The radar looks clear in Jaffrey in the afternoon after rain passes through. There are only two other cars in the 124 Old Toll Road trailhead at 2:30 PM this Sunday. It is probably still raining in Boston now, where a lot of hikers come from. It is rain free here in Jaffrey. I hike up the Old Toll Road to the Halfway House Site. I hike up the Fairy Spring Trail to Monte Rosa. From Monte Rosa there are views and I could see a Perkins Pond as well as Gap Mountain in the foggy haze. Just above the mountain reaches into the clouds. It looks like it might rain so I head up the Smith Summit Trail. It is foggy above treeline. I reach the summit and I heard from another hiker that there were only 10 other cars at State Park Headquarters. I don't waste much time then I head down the White Arrow Trail. It gets dark grey as I reach the Sidefoot Trail. I decide to head down the Sidefoot Trail. The trail has wet slippery lichen covered ledges on it on the first 3rd of the trail. I reach the Halfway House Site and down the Old Toll Road. There are a few rumbles of thunder. Toward the west the sky looks brighter but to the south it is grey. It seems safe to make a quick side trip to Little Mountain. I can see the Wapack Range under overcast and grey skies. I hear another rumble of thunder then I head down to 124. There is only one other car in the lot and I saw two hikers heading up the mountain. I was a little incredulous that there were a few hikers going up given that there were some rumbles of thunder. I reached Jaffrey for a cup of coffee and the skies brightened and cleared towards Mount Monadnock. Later I looked at the radar and a storm developed and headed south missing Monadnock. It turned out to be a nice short quiet weekend hike on Mount Monadnock.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014: I get a late start from 124 hiking in the afternoon. I walk up the Old Toll Road to the Cart Path. It is a pleasantly cool and breezy day. It is forecast to be in the 50's F in the region. In the hardwood zone on the south slope of the mountain the ground is getting largely bare and the snow is patchy. Above 2000 feet in the spruce zone there is 6-18 inches of snow depending on elevation. The conditions are quite icy on the mountain which is typical for this time of the year. The going was slow between the difficult icy sections and sinking into spring snow on the less used trails. I head up the Great Pasture Trail up Monte Rosa. There are some icy areas before breaking out of the woods and onto the open ledges that offer expansive views toward the Green Mountains of Vermont and Berkshires of Massachusetts. I take the Smith Summit to Amphitheater Trail to White Arrow Trail. Above tree-line there is more exposed rock and there are some areas of snow high on the mountain. On the summit Mount Washington is visible on this breezy day. Boston is also visible from the summit and the views are pretty clear. The temperature is about 40 F degrees on top with 40 mph winds. I return down the White Arrow Trail. I hike Bald Rock and use microspikes for ice traction which is a good choice descending Bald Rock. Just below Bald Rock the Cliff Walk is steep and conditions get very icy. I take the Noble Trail and in one steep section I was descending I hugged several trees and using micro spikes. Without ice traction there is no way down there. It drops off steeply all around this section of the Noble Trail. There is about 6 inches of snow on the ground and the conditions are icy as I head down. I reach the Halfway House site below snow line and I go ankle deep in mud. The sun is now setting on the horizon. I hike down the Old Toll Road and take a side trip to Little Mountain. The moon shines on the wet road as I head down to Route 124.
Monadnock Trails to visit:
Monadnock Trails website: Author, Creator, and photos by Frederick Pitcher 2015
Use of the information on this site is the sole risk of the user. The author is not responsible for the trails or anyone's ability to follow them. In addition to the trails there are certain places in this website described that are off trail. Anyone exploring Monadnock does so at their own risk.
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