Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mt. Washington

The highest point in the northeast is a dangerous place. On the slopes of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire's White Mountains people have been caught unprepared and killed by hypothermia in every month of the year. Not to mention the lives claimed by rock slides, avalanches, and falls. While preparing for this hike we saw this video of some pretty serious weather on June 9, 2016. The wind has famously reached 231mph at one point in the 1930s, the highest wind ever recorded.

Our day on the mountain turned out to be just about as good as it gets with 70 degree temps at the trailhead and low 50s at the summit with continuous bluebird skies and no wind. We got very, very lucky.

Our hike consisted of ascending by Tuckerman Ravine and the Lionshead, then descending via Crawford Path, Camel Trail, Davis Path and, finally, the never-ending and surprisingly steep Boott Spur Trail. It was a long day and we burned some serious calories. The descent turned out to be extremely challenging because of its steepness and our fatigue. There are few things more challenging on a hike than having to crab-walk downhill for miles 7-10 while descending 4000ft back to your car.

The Headwall is the most dangerous place on the mountain. We skipped it.

For at least half of this hike we were above the tree line with commanding views of the surrounding Presidential Range. It seems as though the Iphone's panoramic setting does a decent job of capturing the scale of the place.

The actual geologic survey marker attracts far fewer tourists than the summit signpost. The signpost was surrounded by people taking photos with their corgis and chihuahuas after riding their SUV or the train to the summit.

The train descends with some of the Presidential Peaks in the background.

This is the view along Crawford Path, the longest continuously-used hiking trail in the US, en route to Lake of the Clouds lodge. You're looking at about 1.5 miles of boulder-strewn 'path' before the lodge in this photo.

Several miles of trail on the descent and the summit still looks close enough to touch. Small shrubs begin to appear at the approach of the tree line.

If you ever find yourselves itching for a challenge, Mt Washington will not disappoint. Be sure to prepare for hypothermic conditions and check the weather forecasts carefully. Be ready to call it and turn around at a moment's notice, too. Afterward, the pizza and beer at American Flatbread in North Conway, NH never tasted better.

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