Ascending Mount New Hampshire to Mount Washington

1. Mount Washington:

Had the White Mountains worn a wreath, it would have looked like Mount Washington, the highest peak of New Hampshire, New England and the northeast, whose height is 6,288 feet. Yet, the greater the obstacle, the greater the attraction, and it is this philosophy that has served as a magnet for hikers, skiers and technology lovers – that is, those who sought to overcome it by road and rail – all in a conquering spirit of "reaching the top" .

Originally designated "Agiochooki" – the Indian word for "home of the Great Spirit", "place of the forest of the spirit" and "the place of the spirit of the storm" – it was considered the sublime domain of just such a deity, "Gitche Manitos", and every attempt to ascend was therefore considered to be godly. However, non-national Americans did not think so and did not hesitate to try.

His obstacles should not have been underestimated. Surrounded by 5 572 feet of Monroe Mountain, 5,716 feet of Jefferson Mountain and 5,533 feet of Clay, Mount Washington itself, a melange of metaphorical rock and characterized by ancient alpine glaciers carved in the back, lies at the center of three storm trails The Presidential Chain and its prehistoric a continental ice sheet covering the left vegetation above its tree line is found only in the almost Arctic regions of Labrador. Its slopes are drained by several rivers, including the Ammonoosuc, the Dry, the Rocky Branch, the Nova, the Cutler and the Peabody.

Temperatures below and below 65 days per year provide peak permafrost, with hurricane winds of at least 75 km / h blowing it for more than half the winter days. The lowest temperature was -49 degrees Farenheit and the highest wind speed was 231 mph, recorded at its peak on April 12, 1934.

Still, none of this devastated peer. The initial journey, so to speak, was minted in 1642 when Darby Field, with the help of two Indian guides, made the first recorded ascent, while the first scientific mission, the Belknap-Cutler Expedition, was completed more than a century later, in 1784, when this undertaken for the purpose of measuring and collecting alpine plants.

Renamed Mount Washington by then-General George Washington, it was also the target of Colonel George Gibbs, a mineralogist, who first purified himself in 1809, but has since made several successive climbs.

Digging their own path that peaks lead a decade later, Abel and Ethan Allen Crawford, father and son, passed it on to Brother Thomas, who greatly improved it between 1838 and 1840 by expanding it and making it negotiable with horses. Although it does not currently have equestrian use, it remains as the Crawford Bridle Road and is maintained by the White Mountain National Forest.

Each "step more" brought these trail blowers to new layers, as the flora and fauna reflected the climatic conditions created by their altitude-related temperatures, which drop to three degrees every 1,000 feet, and the wind and precipitation increasing significantly.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, for example, hardwood forests – American beech, sugar maple, yellow birch, white ash, white pine, red maple, red spruce, eastern flounder and red oak predominate, becoming spruce-fir forests of balms and red varieties , up to 4,000 feet high.

As if they were malnourished, the balsamic fir trees, creating their own system, became stunted at about 4,500 feet, bringing the short crossing, ie the Krummholz zone, to 4,800 feet, where distorted and sloping trees mark the end of the forest and the beginning of the alpine area. The latter, considered above the tree line, is no longer able to support tree growth due to heavy rain, snow, fierce winds and unbearable temperatures, and instead incubates robust, low-layered plants.

There are two significant plateaus above 5000 feet: the Bigelow Lawn, an Alpine meadow with arctic sedges, and an Alpine meadow that, as its name implies, has wildflowers of wildflowers.

The summit is a rocky, desolate, windy adventure whose view of the other peaks of the Presidential Chain is astonishing when the clouds allow it.

To meet the challenges posed by Mount Washington, visitors have three main ways: on foot, by road, or by rail.

2. Base:

Most of the challenges faced by the early ascents remain for modern day hikers and mountaineers. Due to the severity of the weather and the variability of the mountain, the season was relatively short, lasting from Memorial to Columbus Day, and mud, snow and ice were often encountered thereafter. Winter altitudes, filled with the coldest temperatures, highest winds, deepest snow accumulation and the least amount of daylight, should only be tried by the most suitable, trained, experienced and thoughtful. Showers expose climbers to potential avalanches and the top is usually clouded.

Indeed, a sign posted on a mountain warns, "Stop! It's the worst weather in America in this area. Many died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn around now if the weather is bad."

Trails vary in length, elevation gain, slope, severity and obstacles, and the spectrum ranges from short hikes to low altitude to full climbs at the top at the top. Among the latter are several.

For example, from the west, the Ammonoosuc River Trail, which runs past waterfalls, cloud lakes and huts of the Appalachian Mountain Club, offers an altitude of 3,800 meters and exceeds 9.2 kilometers. The Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail and Trinity Heights Connector, with only 100 feet of elevation above sea level, offer a ten-mile round trip that initially follows the western ridge of Mount Clay before leading to Mount Washington and crossing both the Ammonoosuc River and the Gauge Rail .

There are two approaches from the east, and both are available from Route 16 on Pinkham Notch. The first, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, offers 4,250 feet of elevation and 8.4 miles of distance. Because of its average ratings, it is the most popular. The other, which also includes the Tuckerman Plain Trail, as well as the Boot Spur Trail and the Davis and Crawford Trails, pulls in at 4,300 feet. At 10.6 miles in length, it's rougher and longer than the previous trip, but it's also much more picturesque.

The Glen Boulder Trail, combined with the Davis and Crawford Trails, provides a southeast approach, again from Route 16, and entails a height of 4,400 feet while driving approximately 11.4 miles.

From the northeast, the tracks of the Great Bay and Gulfside, with the Trinity Heights dock, penetrate the deep, secluded Great Gulf valley and cross over 1,600 feet of rock, providing an altitude of 5,000 feet and the longest circle, 15.8 miles long. distance of travel.

3. Put

Today's sport, mountaineering, followed and imitated the past days necessary to reach the summit of Mount Washington, but soon some trace of a horse and car negotiation was suggested. Abel Crawford, having reached the top on horseback as early as 1840, paved the way – at least in the idea.

Access to the top of the mountain is exactly what kept it growing – in the form of a strip to the base. In order to provide a land route for the transportation of wheat from Montreal to Portland, the Atlantic and Saint Lawrence (later Grand Trunk) railroads provided the railroad in 1851, transporting passengers to Gorham, New Hampshire. By quickly assessing the tourism potential of the area, he invested in infrastructure, including the Alpine House Hotel, the route to Pinkham Notch, and the summit of Glen Bridle, below which rises the First Glen House.

But the desire to triumph over the imposing elevation of Mount Washington gave momentum to a road that could support horse tourist omnibuses and a high-end hotel to house them, and Governor Noah Martin granted the charter to the Mount Washington Road Company on July 1, 1853, a side artery of eight miles from Glen House to the top. David O. Macomber of Middleton, New Hampshire has been appointed project manager.

However, not all visions are translated into reality. Construction in pre-motorized and relatively primitive times was daunting. Staying in tents or tents and devoting between ten and twelve hours a day, workers often relied on their strength and brute force to transport supplies to a place eight miles away, relying on a horse or oxen, manually borrowing their mine holes. filling it with black powder and then removing the resulting gravel and rocks.

Yet by the time the project reached its halfway point in 1856, funding was as exhausted as the men doing the work.

Assuming the project three years later, the newly formed Mount Washington Summit Road Company completed the artery, and the Mount Washington Carriage Road – the country's first tourist attraction, officially opened in the midst of the ceremony on August 8, 1861. Earned the "top to first" title by many, especially Joseph Thompson, owner of Glen's house, and Colonel John Hitchcock, owner of Alpine House.

Going into a horse-drawn carriage for three weeks before completing the journey and negotiating the still-existing boulders near the end, he was the first to succeed.

The popularity of the road, confirming its concept, gradually grew, as did the number of first ventures achieved as a result. For example, three members of the Dartmouth Outing Club made their first ski ascent in 1913, followed by the first husky crew to reach the summit in 1926. Wagons of four to six horses, located between nine and 12, carried as many as 100 daily passengers .

But, although the road itself did not change, its use occurred when Freelan O. Stanley earlier made the first steam engine for two hours, ten minutes on August 31, 1899, and paved the way for the first gasoline car to set off on its motorized lanes. , starting a redesign from the original "Transportation" to the final "Highway."

The graphic line representing the annual number of cars using it is as steep and growing – as the mountain it represents: 3,100 in 1935, 6,600 in 1955, 12,800 in 1961 and today it is more than 45,000.

Today's motorcycle riders can "take the freeway", as advertised, by access from Route 16 on Pinkham Notch Street on East Mountain. The Great Glen Lodge, with its breakfast and lunch restaurant, and the adjacent Douglas A. Philbrook Red Barn Museum are at Auto Road Base. The last, last of the many stables of horses and hay that were an integral part of the carriage process back then, is complementary and contains a collection of reconditioned wagons, carts, ATVs and cars that once left their imprints. on the way up the mountain.

The basic entry fee for Auto Road includes a car, its driver, a tour of audio or CD cassettes and the famous "This car climbed Mount Washington:" A bumper sticker, with separate and extra costs for extra adults and / or children and motorcycles.

Guided extracurricular tours, including commentary and admission to the Mount Washington Museum Summit Museum, take 90 minutes, with a third of the time at the top, while seasonal and daily tours include those performed at dawn, in the evening, and during winter at that time in the case of ski vehicles, they do SnowCoach trips.

Intermodal ascents, offered between late May and early October, allow hikers to travel one on foot and the other in a van, stopping by a hiking shuttle to Auto Road Base, Great Bay Railroad Head and Appalachian Pinkham Notch Camp Mountain Club.

Driver and Mother Nature produce ever-changing vistas and weather as the car negotiates a winding, climbing, partly paved and partly overgrown, mountain-predominant road that once bore the imprints of horses. hoofs.

Passing through a chasm on the mountain on the east side, the 7.6-mile-long Mount Washington Highway climbs from 1,543 feet to 6,288, with an elevation increase of between 594 and 880 feet per mile, passing a two-mile park; the Mycko, Jenny Lind and Twin bridges; Halfway House and Horn Park; and negotiating turns and five miles. Moving north, it widens and begins a marked ascent of the Chander Ridge Range, passing through Cragway Spring and Six Mile Park and ascending from Six Mile Grade.

4. Railway:

Before the motoring days, the Mount Washington pendulum swerved to the west and, in another way, tip-tops — by rail — each technological step provided another step to augment the imposing New Hampshire monolith.

His catalyst – once again proving the justification of the "turn pain to purpose" philosophy – was the rise made in 1852 by Sylvester Marsh, of Campton, New Hampshire, a native and wealthy Chicago veteran with meat-producing meat. he was forced to spend the night on the mountain, almost succumbing to its Arctic temperatures and vowing on his return to devise a means of climbing that was fast, comfortable, closed and safe.

Mechanically speaking, he already had extensive experience applying for agricultural machinery patents, such as conveyor belts and grain dryers, so he transferred that background to a rail system whose technology would allow a locomotive and at least one car to negotiate, climb, and superior grades so far impractical for conventional railways.

In devising a plan for a system of rail mountaineers, he filed for a patent on August 24, 1858, but was rejected the following month by the New Hampshire Legislature, claiming that he had received five similar submissions between 1836 and 1849 and laughed at the idea with the now famous a statement that Marsh "could also build a rail to the moon."

If not accepted, he applied for amendments three years later, on August 3, and was quickly approved.

The secret to the system's ability to climb was a small gear set beneath a locomotive whose 19 teeth would bite into the cylindrical strips of the center track, pulling it and cars toward the mountain, like tiny hands clutching a rope that, depending on its part, was somewhere in between horizontal and vertical, thus forming an angular ladder. The engine itself would allow for propulsion, and traditional rails would direct otherwise standard wheels.

The system was funded by initial, $ 20,000 capital, the system that founded the Mount Washington Steam Railroad Company. Marsh would be both president and construction agent.

After some mountain exploration, it was decided to follow the route laid out by Ethan Allen Crawford on the west side of the mountain in 1821 and begin the trail at its bottom near the Ammonoosuc River. However, access to it was hardly without obstacles. The old logging road, extended from Fabia Station, was completed half a mile from the construction site and the rest of the distance was forested.

The steerage of the transported oxen eventually eliminated the possibility for the men to reach the cabin of the logger-dwelling worker. The timber had to be cut by hand.

The Gear Path consisted of 12 feet, or "bent" sections, and progressed in number from "1" at the base to "1200" at the top

Each component of the construction process that began in May 1866 made the process possible. For example, Marsh himself built the first 40-rod test track. The first locomotive, still in parts, was then towed by an ox, followed by a platform car for the transport of construction materials.

The directional locomotive itself was wired and had one pair of cylinders and drive wheels. Although he was nicknamed "Hero," his vertical, pepper-like bottle of boiler-like juice quickly earned the nickname "Peppersass."

Pushing a freight car during a two-hour test run on August 29, 1866, it successfully demonstrated the concept of gear, construction and capability and attracted the necessary additional investment from startup skeptical railway companies.

Two years later, on August 14, the world’s first gear train became top of the top, after a $ 139,500 construction project, I became the top of “Jacob’s Ladder”. the second most cruel – after the one in Switzerland – is still today the oldest and national landmark of the National Historical Engineering.

Access to the train shell was improved in July 1876 when the White Mountain Railway completed the railway from the Fabian Station to the base.

In addition to Peppersass, it launched the service with three other upright boiler locomotives: the George Stephenson, built in 1868, and the Atlas and Cloud, two years later.

Using wood for the first 40 years, these and 18 other engines in the fleet subsequently used coal, each climbing required a ton as well as 1,000 liters of water. Combining original 19th century iron technologies and 21st century green technologies, four locomotives introduced since 2003 are biodiesel types and burn between 16 and 18 liters of fuel per trip.

The Mount Washington Cog Railroad, reached by a six-mile main road that leads to it from Route 302 past Fabia Station, offers a three-hour round-trip trip between May and October, with peak times varying with steam or diesel locomotive power and one-hour half-hour rides in November and December.

Unlike the motorway approach from the east side, the Gear Line ascends to the west side and provides views and views that make them different. All trains depart and return to their Marshfield base station, named after the railroad inventor. The depot itself offers reservations and tickets; self-service restaurant, Catalano na Cog, with a wonderful view of the train departure point; souvenir shop; and the Insect Museum.

Aside from showing the movie "Rail to the Moon," the latter provides a glimpse into early gear technology. For example, the 1908 boiler was continuously used by the No. 9 locomotive – built by the American Locomotive itself – until it was replaced in 1986 with a modern Hodge Boiler Works boiler fitted with a modern boiler. between 1870 and 1920, it allowed the railways to lower the length of the track in less than three minutes. The section of the frame shows how the wheel gear fits with the track rails. The cabin cabin offers an insight into the life of Sylvester March promoter as well as the inventor and builder of the railroad. The Mount Washington Cog Railroad Shop furnished all but one of the seven currently locomotives, and sections of booths and boilers illustrate their construction.

"Old Peppersass," the first engine to launch the railroad to Mount Washington and gain national fame from the National Engineering Landmark. Made by, of course, Marsh himself and the oxen transported to the track in parts, weighing four tons, costing $ 3,000, and could carry a payload equivalent to 60 passengers. It currently has the letters, “N. 1 Mt. WR ”for its part. He quit the service after literally worn out and succumbing to mechanical exhaustion.

4.8 feet wide (half an inch less than American Standard Track), starting at 2,700 feet base and fully laid on a wooden beam, extends for three miles as it climbs the narrow ridge line between Ammonoosuca and Burt with an average grade of 25 percent or a mile. Its nine curves vary in radius from 497 to 945 feet.

All trains consist of a steam or diesel locomotive attached to the back of a wooden or metal passenger wagon in a pusher configuration and, after moving away from the slender platform, cross the Ammonoosuc River almost immediately and then climb the Cold Spring Hill, the second steepest track part.

It follows to the right on the right, enabled by solar, hydraulic switches, bypassing the 3,800-foot Waumbek tank, or waiting for a descending train to pass it through its side track or fill with water, if it is a steam engine.

In the distance, the Appalachian Mountain Club campsite and huts and several tops of the presidential chain, including Mount Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower, Clinton, Jackson and Webster, can be seen on the right.

Passing Halfway House at 4,500 feet, a pair of locomotives and wagons now outperform Jacob's charts, a staggering 37.41 percent (and make it impossible to walk a car without a pass for his seatback passage) and cross the timber line.

Crossing the Appalachian Trail, which extends from Maine to Georgia, the train approaches the summit, overlooking the ridge of the Great Bay on the left and its dramatic 2,000-foot drop to Spalding Lake.

5. Summit:

The convergence of target and mountain targets of all hikers, riders and railroads is the tip, the 59-acre Mount Washington State Park location, which was founded in 1971.

Visions of this desolate, windy crescent, when not clouded by cloud or rainfall, are part of the purpose of the ascent and span a radius of 130 miles. Four states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York are visible, along with the province of Quebec, Canada, and the glare of the Atlantic Ocean. Across the Great Bay are numerous tops of the Presidential Range, such as Jefferson, Adamas and Madison, and they are all below the observers – as is often the case with the clouds themselves – explaining to the American Indians & # 39; the belief that the exalted, exalted position was solely the domain of the Great Spirit.

With the exception of the state park and an additional 60 acres of private land, most of the visible mountains belong to the 725,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, which is itself the spawning point of four large New England rivers.

Visitor services are housed in the Sherman Adams Summit Building, the fourth and only non-hotel Summit home to feature the highlight. Served as the headquarters of Mount Washington State Park, the building, built in 1980 as an integral part of the northern slope, contains a cafeteria, two gift shops, a post office, a museum and the Mount Washington Observatory, the last of which is Class A Meteorological Station for the U.S. Meteorological Bureau.

Another visible structure is the Tip-Top House. Built in 1853 at a cost of $ 7,000 from a stone removed from the very mountain that supports it, the 84-foot-long hotel, 28 feet wide, has been raised from laundry to compete with the First House of the First House, which was completed the same year. The tiled roof, containing 17 tiny bedrooms, was later added.

Abandoned for 35 years, it returned to its purpose when the Great Fire on June 18, 1908, ravaged the subsequently constructed, second room from a 91-room summit. Revived and remodeled, Tip-Top House itself became the mountain’s only hostel for seven years, until a replacement Summit House was built in 1915 – at which time it released a guard and was itself the victim of a fire.

Reconstructed and transferred to the Summit House annex, it was emptied in 1968, before being rebuilt a second time, in 1987, so it could begin its third life – this time as a National Historic Landmark.

Another notable structure is the Summit Stage Office, which currently serves as a gift shop and hiking trail. After the Mount Washington Observatory was located from 1932 to 1937, it was the location of the world's largest measured wind speed, 231 mph, on August 12, 1934, as indicated by its outward sign, which reads: "highest the wind ever recorded was here – 231 mph. "

The actual peak, 6,288 feet, can be reached by following the Crawford Path, which was first laid out in 1819 and is therefore considered to be the oldest hiking trail in America.