Mount Washington Hike – White Mountains Adventures

I once read a list of top 10 deadliest hikes in America and of course immediately knew I wanted to do ALL of them.  I have problems I know.  As I scanned the list and frowning that so far I have only accomplished one.  The mist trail to the Half Dome in Yosemite (P.S. totally worth it.  Probably the most amazing hike I have done to date) was that one.

As my eyes continued to scan the list, I noticed that Mountain Washington, a hike a mere 3 hour drive (thought from someone who can’t drive) from Boston was also on the list.  Ever since then, I’ve been inching to go.  Tony has done the hike in the winter and we slowly collected some gear but it never worked out.  Finally July 4th weekend was perfect timing.

I mean it’s hot, so it should be tolerable at the summit right?

A few facts!

At 6,288 feet, it is the highest point in the northeast USA.

In April 1934, the observatory recorded a 231-mile-per-hour (372 kmh) wind that remains a world record for a land-based weather station.

Some of the observatory buildings are secured to the summit with chains to keep them from blowing away.

Temperatures atop the mountain can drop as low as -47 degrees Fahrenheit (-44 C)

But once again, it’s summer and 90 degrees at the base so how bad could it really be on top.

As we parted the car, we noticed other hikers coming out of their cars with large backpacks filled with something or other and I suddenly got very subconscious of my lack of gear.

Everyone needs a selfie at the base. I look more ready to go to the beach than I am to hike one the top 10 most dangerous hikes!

The ‘gear” we had

1. One camelpak I use for running that holds 2 liters of water
2. 2 smaller bottles of water in Tony’s backpack
3. 3 Peanut butter sandwiches & a few lara bars
4. headlamps – Because after almost being stuck on a trail in pitch darkness in Yosemite, we never leave without it
5. T shirt and shorts for Tony, Tank, hoodie and shorts for Liana
6. Innov-8 running shoes for Liana and saucony virrata for Tony

The fact that all the other hikers had rain gear and pants should have been a smarter sign for us but again its 90 at the base, just the thought of more layers made me sweat.

A photo looking down about .2 mile into the hike

From the beginning, there is no slow easy walk in the woods.  The boulders start from the beginning.  Although at a gradual incline level, you will be hiking rocks the whole trail.

And while the trail itself is unpleasant brutal horrible  challenging, you are constantly rewarded with beautiful cascades around you.

After 2.4 miles of boulder hoping you get to Tuckerman Ravine’s Shelters.

Very under-dressed for what’s to come

Can you see the storm that’s brewing above?

Now many hikers end their journey here.  Because after the tree line things get a little bit more gnarly.

Its like walking into the abyss

I’m still sweating and sweating from the heat, meanwhile my shoes are still soaking wet from a waterfall hike we did yesterday.

Visibility is getting worse but we’re still smiling

We are walking and taking pictures when suddenly it starts pouring rain and I start to understand why everyone was carrying rain gear.  Of course with lack of rain cover or even a plastic bag, I try to protect my camera and phone as best I can.  I cover it all up under my hoodie and hope for the best.

It starts getting darker and darker.  The rangers at the base said that there’s chances of thunder storms and if you see one coming, you should probably get below tree line.

We start noticing a few hikers turning around.  We’re probably half a mile from the summit.  Why would you hike 3.5 miles uphill just to turn around before you hit the summit.  I pouted and pouted as grew darker and rainier and I questioned how will I ever hike down these rocks once they’re wet.  We talked to one group of fit looking hikers who were turning around at the point we were at.  One of them summitted Mount Washington 7 times and said it’s probably best to not risk it with how bad the weather is.

I guess if the fit people with rain jackets are turning around, maybe its time for me to get my unprepared bum back down as well.  So sadly we turned and made the hike back down.  Had we went through the trouble of getting to the top, there would have been no visibility whatsoever, so there was very little to gain from going hire besides a high potential for injury, being stuck or getting struck by lightening.

On the clearest days, observers can see as far as Mount Marcy in New York State, 134 miles to the west.

So worry not Mount Washington, while I have yet to summit you, I’ll return and await a clear day when I can see as far as my almost blind eyes will allow me too.

The hike back down was a little scary on the ravine side.  The rocks got wet and suddenly were a lot more of a challenge going down than up.  It took me a while to get more comfortable.  Once we got into the tree line, it was back to be 90 and sunny.

Yes Mount Washington summit has a climate of it’s own.

While, I felt a little depressed about my weather luck lately, I did get to end the hike on a happy note.

I mean how could you not be happy after seeing that? Crystal cascades, about a 5 minute hike from the base?

White Mountains Weekend – Waterfalls Fun!

After basking ourselves in displays of fireworks.  Tony and I woke up early to drive to NH on Friday.  Our main goal was to hike Mount Washington and just see what the White Mountains had to offer. Based on a friend’s recommendation we stayed at White Birches Campground.  The campsites were pretty spacious with very far bathrooms which is nice to be peaceful but if you wake up at 4AM, its peeing behind the tent for you!

Speaking of which! Check out my shiny new tent I brought for the TARC 50 miler that I ended up not using because after swimming in 25 miles of mud, I decided I earned my bed.

Of course the first thing I wanted to do was run up this hill we drove by.

The second thing I wanted to do was run this rail trail or at least bike it.  Alas, I did not bring my dinky bike.

We did pick up a lunch before our White Mountain experience started.

Yup SUBWAY.  I think with all my extra spinach and peppers, I almost made it worth 5 bucks.  Although it was weird to see all the usual chain fast food places in the White Mountains.  When Tony and I drove through southern Utah, there was barely any place at all.

Anyways we asked one of the ranger stations for some hike recommendations.  Unlike, my other trips, I did not buy a White Mountains book or research endlessly.  Although, I really wish I did.  I’m not a wing it kinda girl!

The first hike we did was called the Falls.   It passes four waterfalls fed by two mountain streams that drain waters from Mount Adams and Mountain Madison.  We only saw 3, so maybe we didn’t go far enough on the trail.  I got stuck at a crossing I didn’t want to fall into so we turned around.

Gordon Falls, which was probably the best out of the three we saw

The next were Salroc Falls which is broken up into two parts.

Lower? Salroc Falls

We passed by lots of slugs and mushrooms and beautiful greenery!

Slugs deserve love too!

The last falls we got to see on this hike was Gordon Falls

Tama Falls

We didn’t see the rest of the trail because we either a. lost it or b. it involved crossing Gordon Falls and after getting my feet wet and almost get swiped off into the water, I decided it was easier to turn around.

Tony hoped the rocks to cross, I got scared and gave up.

However, I made a new friend on our return.

Hiking Mount Monadnock

My work team is a unique place.  While some get wined and dined, we get taken outside.  So Thursday, a day before my flight to Spain we took a 2 hour drive to New Hampshire to hike a mountain.

Per the all knowledgeable Wikipedia Mount Monadnock, or Grand Monadnock in NH , known for its presence in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It is the most prominent mountain peak between the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Berkshires. It has long been known as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world!

At 3,165 feet (965 m), Mount Monadnock is nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) higher than any other mountain peak within 30 miles (48 km) and rises 2,000 feet (600 m) above the surrounding landscape.

Now can you picture 10 tax accountants climbing a mountain? Nah neither did I unless it’s a mountain of numbers.

Shared Photo

Most of us wear our hiking shoes once a year when we do this. Some of my co-workers purchased hiking shoes just for this. Now let me tell you a few things about Mount Monadnock.  It may be only 2 hours away from Boston but I feel serious pains once a year and I can tell you it’s not from a marathon.

This is my third year doing the hike with my co-workers.  First year it was cold, there was snow on top but the path was dry.  Second year was hell!  It was raining and our hike was more of a slip and slide!

This year the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!  The foliage was beautiful!

It’s a long way to the top!

But totally worth it!

It remains clear largely because of fires set by early settlers. The first major fire, set in 1800 to clear the lower slopes for pasture, swept through the stands of virgin red spruce on the summit and flanks of the mountain. Further fires and hurricane damage left the forests a tangle of fallen timber. Between 1810 and 1820, local farmers, who believed that wolves were denning in the blowdowns, set fire to the mountain again. The conflagration raged for weeks, destroying the topsoil and denuding the mountain above 2,000 feet (610 m).

Such a long way down but the view was just as lovely.

We wined and dined afterwards but I decided not to weird out my coworkers by being paparazzi.  Now I am a runner and not a mountain climber and I will be doing my limping swagger for the next week until my quads recover.     Luckily I’ll be limping around Spain.

Night at Hampton Beach, NH

Ran 6.5 miles on the treadmill 59 minutes on incline 3

Tuesday left half a bucket of sweat.  I felt a little depressed for how heavy my legs felt but after checking that humidity was at 93% I felt a little better blaming the weather for my heavy legs.

Night out at Hampton Beach

For those of us who can’t afford a jet to fly us out to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket and don’t want to brave the traffic of going south of Boston to the Cape, Hampton beach is the  getaway.  At least it made a decent night out.  About 45-55 minutes away from Boston we didn’t make it out to the beach until 6:30PM as most of the day was spent hiking (post on this later).

First order of business.. dinner

Okay so I might have gobbled down the scallops before I remembered I own a camera, but here’s a photo to make up for it.

Perfectly cooked and cracked for me lobster.  All I had to do was use a little pointy thing to get all the good stuff out.

And incase you’re wondering where you can get such a tasty in New Hampshire?

Here’s a photo to remember where you eat.  Better than a cheap motel postcard.

Afterwards we walked the “boardwalk” and by boardwalk, it was a sidewalk since Hampton Beach doesn’t actually have a boardwalk.  We people watched.  Picture a bunch of Jersey Shore wannabes only younger and possibly skankier.  Classy American scene.

Now some people go to a beach village and scope out the bar scene, but not us.  We prefer the arcade scene.

I made bank on one of those pushing quarters machines after some failed skeeball action.

Too bad all I could afford was Patrick (500 tickets!) with what I thought was herpes, but later learned are just jellyfish bites.  Either way Jack will be happy to have a new toy he can do this to:

Nothing wrong with treating your cat like he’s your baby boy.  Don’t worry, he gets a bed time story as well.

As we were getting into some intense video game action we heard some bangs

Since it’s Live Free or Die New Hampshire, of course there would be fireworks on Labor Day weekend.

I love fireworks!

We were so close to where they were shooting them that the paper shells kept falling by our feet.  How crazy!  Crazy New Hampshires!

And how did we cap the night?  Some serious Teenage Ninja Turtle action.

Did you ever watch Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles as a kid? Who was your favorite?  I like Michelangelo, probably because I too always just wanted some pizza.

What’s your favorite arcade game?  I like skeeball and those random get a quarter in a truck bucket ones that I loose all my money on.