10 Fun Facts
10 Fun Facts
ALTHOUGH itís the most climbed mountain in North America, nearly 80% of hikers stay on the main trail from the State Park Headquarters. Even some life-long hikers arenít aware of HIDDEN and UNMARKED places like Pumpelly Cave, the Spy Cave and the Eagleís Nest.
THE SIMILARITY between Mount Monadnock and Mount Fuji in Japan has been noted since 1880. While both mountains attract TENS OF THOUSANDS of hikers every year, Fuji is three times as high as Monadnock and attracts twice as many climbers.
LIKE Mt. Fuji, Monadnock has inspired generations of PAINTERS and POETS as well as hikers, leading some to speculate that Monadnock might be the MOST PAINTED and MOST WRITTEN ABOUT mountain in America. There are even operas, symphonies, waltzes and morris dances written about it.
ATTEMPTS to count the number of hikers who climb Mount Monadnock has led to some extreme measures. In the 1990s HIDDEN MECHANICAL COUNTERS were installed on the main trails that clicked each time a hiker stepped on them. Even most park rangers didnít not know about them.
WHEN the town of JAFFREY acquired a portion of the mountain just south of the summit in 1883 to protect it from developers it was one of the first municipalities in America to acquire land for the purpose of PRESERVATION.
DEVELOPERS have threatened to build structures on Monadnock for over a century. Each time grass roots CITIZENS GROUPS successfully saved the mountain. Without their hard work Monadnock would be full of mansions, a radio antenna, a tramway, a highway up the side and clear cut forests where the state park is located.
MONADNOCK is famous for attracting "POWER HIKERS." Larry Davis holds the amazing record of climbing Monadnock for 2850 CONSECUTIVE DAYS, nearly eight years without missing a day. Fran Rautiola climbed Monadnock 14 TIMES in a 24-hour period before losing the record to Gary Harrington, who climbed it 16 times.
PUMPELLY CAVE, one of the unmarked and near legendary places on Monadnock, was built in the early 1900s by the son of painter Abbot Thayer and the son of Raphael Pumpelly. They called it "MEGALITHIA" and kept its location SECRET FOR DECADES, requiring visitors to wear blindfolds. The cave was seriously vandalized in the 1970s, but its ruins remain. Just donít ask park rangers to help you find it. Their policy is to keep its location secret.
THREE PLANES crashed on Monadnock since 1954, including an AIR FORCE SABRE JET that blew up over the mountain and two private planes that crashed during the 1980s. THREE PEOPLE DIED in the crashes but in the entire recorded history of Monadnock only ONE PERSON died of HYPOTHERMIA: Charles MacVeagh of Dublin on Valentines Day 1920.
AMONG the frequently visited places on the mountain are "THOREAUíS SEAT" and "EMERSON"S SEAT," named after Concord Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The names on the "seats," however, are entirely HONORARY. Itís highly unlikely that either Thoreau or Emerson ever sat on their "seats."
For more fascinating stories about Mount Monadnock, read"Monadnock: More than a Mountain" by Craig Brandon, published in August 2007 by Surry Cottage Books. If your local book store doesnít have it, ask them to order it! Itís loaded with Monadnock facts, Monadnock paintings and Monadnock poems.
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