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Mt. Monadnock Story: What Happened?

Yes, after I had my own Ill-advised idea to blaze my own trail on Mount Monadnock, I got lost. Looking back some 26 years ago now, I cannot help to ask (as I did in my last post) “Why Does Mania Take You To The Top of the World?” (†Side point: this post made Psych Central’s Best of Our Blogs: March 22, 2016.) What HappenedWHY? And What did I learn?

Why Does Mania Take You To The Top of the World? | Mt. Monadnock Story: What Happened? | Mt. Monadnock Story: What did I learn? | Mt. Monadnock Story: Emotional Mountain

What Happened?

I spent 22 1/2 hours on Mt. Monadnock with the temperature dropping down to 26° overnight.  Maj. Henry Mock–Chief of Law Enforcement of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department told the TV and newspaper reporters I was on the Dublin Trail which was not one of the most common trails on the way to the Monadnock Summit.  Capt. Brian Howe said I was among.. the 118th people lost that year. There were seven in September and I was the sixth in October.

Capt Brian Howe told reporter that I got “disoriented and could not find my way back to the trail.” and that I “apparently…slept on a rock and walked around to keep warm.” That part is funny and almost right…

The newspaper got it wrong! I made it to the summit to Mt. Monadnock.  It was not long after my group…turned the tables and played a joke on me–did I get lost… I jumped off the top of the summit into the woods!

Thanks to google maps I have mapped out the trail I went up and came out.. (See the image above), the blue dots are the trails I used (eventually). The white dots are more or less guessing where I might of gotten lost – the distance is 9.6 miles going up over 3000 ft. above sea level.

I was wearing a light winter coat or windbreaker, sneakers and dungaree jeans.  No backpack, compass, water or anything, but a bag for my lunch and soda.  I thought the hike was going to be a 30 minutes to hour walk up a paved road or walkway.  I did not know, as I said in my other post, I was just a kid from the projects, hardly ever been out in the “real forest or mountains” alone.

In the projects, I learned how-to survive.  Those survival skills don’t do much good when you’re lost in the woods on the side of a mountain.  My father taught me some basic survival tips growing up that did come in handy…Too bad he never showed me how to make fire…like a friction-based fire with a bow drill or something.

After jumping down the side, mid-slope, the rocks mixed with evergreen overgrowth… Heading into woods, I had to push through an area with bushes that had some type of thorns or needles or something sharp. It was sticking into my arms and legs.  Stinging like I shook up a hornet nest… After a while, I was in what would best be described as Spruce forest.

Into that forest I went, 8 hours lost in that area of the forest only seeing the sky rarely breaking through the dense vegetation… Never did I find a trail.

Now, I could have been walking in circles and I wouldn’t I know it.  At one point I was following a small stream. I figured it was going down the mountain, and I wanted to go down.  However,  then it got real deep in a few spots and I slipped and my foot went in.  It was getting dark, if fell in the water even to my waist, at any point I could be dealing with hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature…eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death” ~ ‡Mayo Clinic

I remember many of the white Birch trees were so old and dead, they just crumbled in my hands…looked like zombie trees.

At one point, I almost gave up, pushing through heavy woods, beech trees, birch trees and brush…Oh My!  Lost, no clue where I was, it was getting dark and cold. I was on the side of a mountain and found a flat rock with what looked to be a deep cavern on the other side. I knew then if I took one more step, it could be my last…

I came to a resolution that I would have to hike back to the summit of Mt. Monadnock and find a trail.  There was no way someone was going to find me, no one knew where I was, and getting off the mountain was simple… I got myself lost. I would get myself off Mt. Monadnock. I may have been a bit narcissistic at this point.  Maybe it was the cold, or the fact, I was done with being lost.  I started working my way up the the side of Mt. Monadnock…again. Back to the top…till it got too dark to move.

I stopped moving on a big rock that had what I would call a dead drop on the other side… It was black and all I could see at the top two Pine trees growing out of the dark cave.  I knew if I fell down there, I would never be able to come out… and probably die in the fall or break an arm, leg or major head trauma.

I remembered from my father telling me that tree leaves can isolate you from the harsh weather elements. But at this point, I was on Mount Monadnock 2000+ feet elevation.  The only thing around me was rocks and EVERGREEN TREES!  PINE TREES…oh well, they would have to do…

I reached over the edge carefully so I did not fall and started to break off branches. When I reached over my second time, I grabbed the tree and felt my footing starting to slip…

to be continued

P.S. the red and blue “X” on the map is where, I believe, I may have been for a while before turning and heading back up the mountain.  Now, I take a compass everywhere I go.


Photo: Google Maps,-72.1258363,4772m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89e17af103197eb1:0x18125adc132fe728 

†Psych Best of Our Blogs: March 22, 2016 |
Uyemura, B. (2016). Best of Our Blogs: March 22, 2016. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2016, from 

‡Hypothermia: Definition By Mayo Clinic Staff retrieved on March 24, 2016, from

Mt. Monadnock Story: What Happened?

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2018). Mt. Monadnock Story: What Happened?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2019, from


Last updated: 13 Oct 2018
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