Friday, August 20, 2010

Mt Washington

First, let me correct something I said yesterday about the accident in Tuckerman Ravine.  We either got bad information or we misunderstood what was said by the lady behind the desk at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.  There was definitely an accident, but it was in Huntington Ravine--the next ravine over from Tuckerman.  A teenage boy was climbing on the Huntington Ravine headwall and fell 150 feet.  He was rescued and airlifted to a hospital where he is expected to recover from “multiple injuries”.  He’s very lucky.

Mt Washington is, by far, the most prominent feature of the landscape here.  It is the highest peak in the Presidential Range, in the White Mountains, in all of New Hampshire.  I usually don’t post entries about places we don’t visit, but I have to make an exception here.  Yesterday’s hike up to Hermit Lake will probably be as close as we’ll get to the summit on this trip.  At the caretaker’s cabin, we were less than 2 miles from the summit.  Since we probably won’t get any closer than that, I decided to dedicate this entry to Mt Washington and include photos taken on our last visit in 2006.

I guess when most people think of Mt Washington, they think of the weather.  This mountain boasts of having the worst weather in America.  The wind up there is remarkable.  Even on a clear day, the wind can be challenging.  Combine that wind with a decent snowfall and you end up with something otherworldly.  Because of the weather, the summit is covered up with weather equipment.

Gene making his way to the top

There are several ways to get to the top--you can drive yourself, ride the Mt Washington Stage Line van, or take the cog railway.  Of course, if you’re a truly hearty hiker, you can walk up there, but you have to go by trail, pedestrians are not allowed on the auto road.  We drove up. That was the second time for Gene to drive the auto road and he has now moved that into the category of “never again”.

Summit Stage Office

We were last here in August, 2006.  We stayed a month at that time and had the opportunity to watch the weather forecast and wait for a “perfect” day.  As I recall the temperatures were in the mid 50s, visibility was great, and the wind was not so bad.  We drove up in the truck.  The Auto Road is paved, but very curvy and a little narrow, especially in a truck.  Being high vacation season, it was bumper to bumper traffic in both directions.

From the top, we hiked down one and a half miles to Lake of the Clouds hut and then hiked back up.  We looked around at the various buildings, got a cup of coffee at the snack bar, watched the movie about the weather conditions, and made photos at the summit sign.  So here are the pictures from that trip.  I hope they make you want to come see for yourself when next you’re in the area.  It’s definitely worth the effort by which ever way you choose to get to the top.

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