Monadnock (Again)

The Livingston Family went back to Monadnock, but this time, in the snow. We love this place. What can you say? Monadnock is a perfect mountain. There are no great distances to cover. It’s got an exposed rocky summit. It’s only a two hour drive from our house. It’s lovely.

We were last there on 17 June 2020. That was during our “warmup” hike to the summit and start of our five-day New England Trail End-to-End Adventure. Unfortunately, our kids couldn’t be with us on that trip. That would have been too much for them, but yesterday, they were leading the way. Back in June, it was sweltering hot in the valley, warm on the summit, and we had 360 degree views for as far as you could see.

Yesterday, we had whiteout conditions and no views, but it was every bit as exhilerating. The wind wasn’t too bad. It was manageable if you stayed warm and protected your skin. As long as you kept moving, you were fine. The kids had tackled Monadnock for the first time, back in May of 2018, when Debbie led a hike for her Cub Scout Den. I’ve been on Monadnock in winter on several prior occasions, but it had been about 20 years since my last winter sojourn.

In May of 2018 when the kids first hiked the mountain, it was a cool but sunny day, which was very different from yesterday’s conditions. This past weekend, our original goal was to go skiing/snowboarding at one of the Connecticut “mountains” but everything was booked. It’s booked next weekend too. Between the reduced capacity at resorts, and decent conditions, the demand is high, so we missed out. Debbie checked some other places in southern New England, but we have decided to lay low and not deal with quarantine rules and other requirements.

Monadnock seemed like the perfect alternative. We have made a few trips around New England in the past month, but have encountered barely any people in doing so. Yesterday, we saw about a dozen folks on the mountain in groups of two or three. It’s the perfect place to distance yourselves from others and enjoy nature.

The kids hadn’t experience a winter mountain hike, so we figured this would be good training. We took our time to educate them on the preparation and execution of a winter adventure. They led the way, and it will be interesting to see if we can keep up when we get to our 50’s. We cobbled together a collection of traction devices from our gear room including vintage Yaktra and, MICROspikes, newer EXOspikes, and various snowshoes. We have crampons, but didn’t pack them. We didn’t need the snowshoes, but carried some as backup. The trail had been “tracked in” on the easier slopes, so it was better to just attach the spikes to our boots. Above treeline and with fresh snow, it was a little harder to navigate, but we knew the route from prior trips and the occasional “white arrow” painted on a rock helped.

One person we did see, was Colin, the ranger who was stationed at the Monadnock State Park trailhead on Route 124. He collected our $15 fee and gave us some helpful tips. Kudos to him for hanging out in his little (heated) shack on Super Bowl Sunday while a bunch of winter hikers explored the slopes of the local mountain.

Minutes after we arrived in Jaffrey, it started to snow. By the time we started hiking, the snow was coming down at a steady rate. It continued to snow throughout the day. Our total elapsed time was 3.5 hours. We made it to the summit in about two hours and the walk down was quicker. On the way up, we took the Old Halfway House Trail to the White Arrow Trail. On the way down, we took the White Arrow to the Old Toll Road, which made the descent even quicker. It would have been fun to explore Monte Rosa or some other trails, but this was a quick trip and we wanted to get home before the weather got too bad.

The drive back to Connecticut took longer and we saw a few accidents, but we stayed out of trouble. Everyone was stoked from the adventure, which set us up nicely for the week ahead.

1 Response to “Monadnock (Again)”


  1. 1 Srikanth Perinkulam 9 February 2021 at 3:31 am

    Oh boy! Wonderful to see these pictures. Almost white-out conditions? Monadnock has always been on our list. Sad we never really got around hiking there despite living in Boston!


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@trailrunningmom scorched the final 10 miles. I made the 90 minute drive back to the finish and then ran out to meet her with six or so to go. We hammered the final rocky descent and then accelerated on the infernal five miles of dirt road that led to the finish. Time was about 27h54m @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun #bighorn100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #trailrunning #ultrarunning
@trailrunningmom is in the homestretch. She is on the last 17 mile segment coming down from the Dry Fork Ridge Aid Station. She came through around 9:15 A.M. after another grueling climb. It’s blazing hot. @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun #bighorn100 shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #trailrunning #ultrarunning
66 miles down as of 3:15 A.M or so. Second trip over Sally’s Footbridge. This time after 18 miles mostly downhill (all in the dark). I’ll see her at one more aid station. She perked up a bit and is on the last big climb now. She says her “quads are not working.” @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun #bighorn100
In and out of Jaws Trailhead Aid Station at 8,800 feet @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun #bighorn100 Nearly 5,000 feet of vert in 18 miles of relentless climbing was not @trailrunningmom ‘s jam. She suffered and slowed but she got moving again at the 48 mile mark. Long night ahead and now she is running the same 18 miles back DOWN the mountain. #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #trailrunning #ultrarunning
The good news is that @trailrunningmom was flying coming into Sally’s Footbridge Aid Station at 30 miles and some big descending. The bad news is I missed her after a three hour drive. It’s now a three hour drive back to the next AS. I feel terrible but a wrong turn was costly. You would think this was my first crew job! AS volunteers said she looked good and was running near the front. @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun @shenipsitstriders #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #trailrunning #ultrarunning #bighorn100
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Start of the @bighorn100 @bighorntrailrun in #Wyoming @trailrunningmom is ready to rock it. About 300 runners started at 9:10 A.M. Depending on connectivity I’ll update every 4-6 hours. It’s remote! @shenipsitstriders #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #trailrunning #ultrarunning
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