“Wow!” Izzy exclaimed as she and her grandfather drove along New Hampshire’s Route 16.
The mountain loomed before them.
My buddy George and his granddaughter decided to do a marathon trip to the White Mountains last weekend. They drove for six hours Saturday so they could climb Mt. Washington on Sunday.
Now Mt. Washington isn’t just a stroll in the park. It’s the highest mountain in the eastern United States, reaching into the clouds at 6,288 feet.
Before that morning, the highest peak either of them had summited was South Mountain in West Davenport.
After having breakfast at the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, they started up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. It was 7:30 in the morning with a temperature of about 60 degrees. It didn’t take long to warm up, though, as the heavily eroded trail continued going steadily up.
Having youth on her side, Izzy hopped from rock to rock and set a steady pace for her grandfather. It took them just under two hours to make it to Hermit Lake. They’d soon learn that they had completed the easiest part of the hike.
As they approached the cabin and shelters, Izzy said in a disgusted tone, “What’s that smell?” She thought maybe it was the people in front of them. It turned out to be the outhouses instead.
After a short break, they went back a few hundred yards and turned up the Lion’s Head Trail. There were some trees down and it was rather steep, but with many switchbacks and stone steps, they continued ever upward. They reached the top of Lion’s Head at 10:30 a.m.
As they stood there with the wind blowing out of the north, they could hear the whistle of the cog railroad engine that climbs the backside of the mountain.