Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mount Washington

Saturday, June 21. The first day of summer, and a great day to climb Mt. Washington. I got to the trailhead around 9:45, and left a few minutes later. I went up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, passing everybody. I like the feeling of passing people who are sweating and breathing hard on the ups, its a great self-esteem booster. I took a break at Lakes of the Clouds hut and had lunch. I also put on pants and a rain coat. Above tree line it was windy and cold.
One of the Lakes of the Clouds
After a quick mile I got to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and the crows of people. More people huffing and puffing, and commenting on how cold it was. I turned left onto the Alpine Garden Trail and the fun began. This trail walks through the alpine garden on Mt. Washington, and the flowers were still in bloom. 
Tuckerman Ravine, with the Wildcats/Carters in the background.

Alpine Flowers.

Different Alpine Flowers.

I'm sorry I don't know what plant they all are.
This part of the hike was great. The sun came out, the wind was blocked by the peak, there were excellent views, and I was feeling great. I highly recommend the Alpine Garden Trail to anyone, even if the flowers aren't blooming. 
Lions Head, Carter Dome is the highest peak in the background.

Looking north-east towards the Mahoosuc Range in NH/ME.

Looking back (South) towards Boott Spur.
The North end of the Alpine Garden Trail is the Nelson Crag. I took this trail to the summit. The ridge this trail runs up was also blocking much of the wind, and this leg was a lot windier and colder than the previous one. I could see the auto road, and a view of the summit buildings that I hadn't seen before. When I got to the top there were a lot of people. I've never seen such a long line to take a photo at the summit. I didn't feel a need to wait in it. At the top there was a woman on the lee side of the building with her SOTA setup. I chatted for a moment, then headed on.
Summit from the Nelson Crag Trail.
The northern presidentials, Jefferson, Adams, Madison (L-R)
The line was nearly as long as the Tip-Top House.
After warming up a bit inside I headed down. I was on the AT for about a mile. Its hard to describe the feelings of comfort and security I now get on white-blazed trails. I then turned onto the Jewell Trail and hiked back to the car. 
Standing on the tracks.
Cog on its way up.
Bonus points for each mountain you can identify. Hint: looking West.
Looking down into the Great Gulf. Its very steep.