Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 132: Mount Washington!

July 17: I got an early start to the day's hike today despite not having a particularly long distance to go--about a dozen miles. Today's plan was for Amanda to drop me off at Crawford Notch and I'd hike through to Mount Washington where I'd meet Amanda. I was a little surprised to learn that Amanda, despite her extensive travels, had never been up to Mount Washington. She missed it during my first thru-hike and never had another opportunity.

From Crawford Notch, the trail climbs steeply to the ridge line!

So we'd meet up there, and she'd drive us down the auto road.

It was about 12 miles of hiking, but unlike yesterday, the terrain would be a lot rougher since it wasn't built along an old railroad grade. And there was an added deadline: I needed to reach Mount Washington before the auto road closed--which was hours before sunset.

The day was a beautiful one for hiking with clear, blue skies. I took alternative routes to the top of both Mount Eisenhower and Mount Monroe. Strangely, the official AT skirts around the sides of the mountains. It's above treeline and the views are fabulous even on the official trail, but I couldn't understand why anyone would want to skip the views from the tops of the mountains! I wasn't going to!

Nearly the entire day's hike stayed above treeline--with spectacular views the whole time. But once again, nothing big to report.

I stopped briefly at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut where I found my old register entry from 2003. I remember that night well--I froze my butt off all night. It was my coldest night on the trail and I shivered uncontrollably the whole night. A pretty miserable night, all things considered. My register entry reflected as much noting that I could see my breath inside. Today, it was warm enough that I definitely didn't see my breath!

Amanda was sitting on a rock near where the trail reaches the summit of Mount Washington when I arrived. We poked around the summit area for awhile, checking out the sites and sounds. It's quite developed up there with hundreds of tourists milling around. Mount Washington is also the highest peak in not just New Hampshire, but all of New England and on a beautiful day like this one, it was busy! A line of people waited to get their photos at the summit marker.

Then we took the long drive back down the auto road down to the rest of the world and returned to our hotel in North Conway. A great day overall!

Enjoying the views from Webster Cliffs!

That high peak near the right is Mount Washington and my destination for the day. That white spot near the left side of the photo is the Mizpah Spring Hut.

Mizpah Spring Hut

Mount Eisenhower summit

See the structures at the top of Mount Washington?

A day hiker admires the view up Mount Washington.
Watching grass grow, I guess, is too boring for people to do, so they set up these monitors to do the watching for them. =)

Lakes of the Clouds Hut
My old register entry from my 2003 thru-hike!

We're nearing the top of Mount Washington!
There's a happy face at the top! =)
It was at this site where the record for highest wind speed ever recorded was set on April 12, 1934. How fast was the wind? A whopping 231 miles per hour! Mount Washington is infamous for its severe weather and more people have died on it than any other mountain in North America. Today, however, was beautiful!

Amanda gets in a new high point!

Mount Washington's weather observatory
If hiking to the top or driving to the top doesn't appeal to you, you can also take the cog railroad!
The cog railroads (two of them) heading back down the mountain. That ridge in the distance.... the trail crosses the cog railroad then follows along the length of that ridge. Another day, though! We're done for today!

I wished *I* could get a tour of the weather station!


Karolina said...

You did't write how high above the sea level the top of mount Washington is! In meters, please! :-)

Ryan said...

Mount Washington is 6,288 ft above sea level. Or 1917 m for you European folks. =)