18th Highest State High Point
38th Most Difficult
A day before the New Hampshire Marathon, now it was time to figure out what we were going to do for the day. We get in the car and drive towards the White Mountains of NH to see what would unfold. It wasn’t 10 minutes from the hotel, and we spotted a moose along the right side of the road. Saw him at the last minute so couldn’t easily slow down and never got a picture. We were not too far from Mt. Washington (6,288 ft) which is the highest point on the eastern USA, so for two lovers of the outdoors it seemed like the natural choice. Three options, either climb, drive, or take the famous COG railroad.
|Original "Steam" Engine Still makes 1 trip up and down the mountain each day|
|Crazy Steep Tracks up to 37% Grade|
Climbing a day before a “double” didn’t seem like a logical choice and the COG was the closest trailhead to the side of the mountain we were coming from so in no time we checked in and bought round trip tickets. When I was here 15 years ago again it was logistically the best alternative to take the COG, so I still haven’t climbed this mountain. Maybe someday as part of a trek of the Appalachian Trail I’ll hike to the summit.
|Great Views Along the Way|
|More Great Views!|
A lot had changed since my last visit in Y2K. The coal fueled steam engine that spewed black smoke had been upgraded to a new biodiesel engine that is much faster and much more green. No more stops half way to replenish the water in the engine, however, we did learn the first train of the morning you can still ride the old coal engine. Either train, it’s the same track which heads nearly straight up the mountain with three steep grades up to as much as 37% grade. Those engines have to work to slug up that hill!
|Visitor Center and Observation Deck on Summit|
|Fortified Cabin on the Sumit|
So far the weather was cooperating, no rain, and partly cloudy skies. We got to the top and were welcomed to a beautiful panoramic view from the observation deck. We also had an hour to explore the summit including checking out the visitor’s center’s museum and climbing a few rocks to the actual benchmark and actual high point and of course a few snapshots on the summit!
|Geological Marker on Summit|
I had remembered a “grand hotel” in this area last time here and then half way up the tracks I could spot it below.. Upon our return we would venture out for lunch at the famous old train station now converted to a restaurant called Fabyan’s as well as walk the grounds of the Mount Washington Grand Omni Hotel. Magnificent!