Yep that is me on Mt. Washington Summit! And no, we did not hike the mountain! We took the Cog Rail. We do not climb it because it is a long hike and you need perfect weather to make it to the top in one day. A round trip hike is about 8 – 10 miles. So figure out the math. How long does it take you to hike 1 mile in similar terrain that is rugged, rocky, muddy and slippery when wet, and steep. It is a fairly dangerous mountain if the weather changes or if hikers do not understand the conditions. More than 100 people have died from falls and hypothermia, from avalanches and ice falls, and from natural causes (e.g. heart attacks). If you decide to climb Mt. Washington refer to this website for more information and make sure you let someone know your plans in case you do not come back on time. Also click here for a story on just how dangerous this mountain is to hike. But the other options work really well. We had about an hour to walk around the mountaintop and this time I got my picture taken at the summit! The first year we went I was hesitant climbing up the boulders to get to the summit. I had my sneakers on and rarely did any climbing. Last year the winds were so high I could not even walk to the summit! This year the weather was perfect and I had no problems with the small climb to the top. I definitely have grown in my confidence and ability to climb through different terrain and steepness. There were a few women on the top around my age and each needed their husband to help them up to the summit and back down. The feminist side of me is always happy when I can do something like this on my own! Below is a picture of me on my climb to the top!
On the top of the summit is a Cairn. You will see them as you travel up the mountain. They are typically spaced a few feet apart intending to guide hikers during storms to ensure they are headed in the right direction. During blinding snowstorms – these cairns might save a hiker’s life.
Some of the hikers will take the Cog Rail back down to the base. We had one during this trip and he did look tired! I think we will leave climbing this mountain to the younger generation and the more experienced hikers. You can see in the pictures I have been posting, that the terrain is rugged. Last year we ran into a hiker who experienced changing weather conditions – he fell and had two black eyes. Luckily it was not worst than bruises. He said the terrain was boulders and with the high winds he lost his balance. It is always important to respect the mountains and know your limits. A wise hiker once said the goal is not to get to the summit but to get back to the base alive. Powerful words.