Appalachian Mountain Forest Service
>>>Summit Forecast for : Fog, High 64/Low 42, Wind 24 mph

might be the tallest mountain in the world, but it's a baby compared to Mount Madahodo! While Everest has been around for an impressive 60 million years, Mount Madahodo (and the rest of the White Mountains) formed over 120 million years ago as the North American Plate moved westward over the "New England hotspot," a magma plume deep within the Earth.

Of course, the mountains looked a little different back then (reaching altitudes of nearly 30,000 feet!). The Madahodo we know today was carved out about 10,000 years ago as glaciers retreated from the region.

An Agawunk woman rescues European settlers from the Madahodo summit, 1781

The name Madahodo came from the Agawunk, a local Native American population who respected the mountain - and feared it. Because of the nearly year-round fogs, the mountain was commonly believed to be a source of evil, hence the name Madahodo, anglicized from the Abanaki word for devil. Quite the contrast with nearby Mount Washington, which was known as the more benign Agiocochook, or "Home of the Great Spirit."

Artifacts found on and around the summit suggest the local Agawunks once performed cleansing ceremonies there, though the exact nature of these rituals is still fiercely debated.

One ancient tradition remains with us to this day: the Hockomock Trail, which follows a footpath to the summit stamped out over hundreds, if not thousands of years. European settlers arriving in the area were warned of the evil Hockomock said to live in the fogs of Madahodo, and the name stuck.

What exactly is a Hockomock? Stop by any local Boy Scout campfire jamboree, and you'll be sure to get an answer to keep you awake for a night or two!

At the turn of the 20th century, the White Mountains looked quite different from today: entire mountainsides had been stripped to the ground by logging, rivers and streams were choked by silt from the eroding hillsides, and frequent forest fires led to ash falling on nearby towns.

Finally, thanks to the Weeks Act of 1911, the government was able to repurchase the land encompassing the White Mountains region from logging operations. Madahodo was among the original 7,000 acres that made up the White Mountains National Park, and has been open to the public ever since. The first Madahodo Summit Hut was built in 1915, only to burn down five years later. A second hut was built in 1920, with various renovations and expansions made over the subsequent decades.


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