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Mount Washington Hike 2013
[Note: none of the pictures I show will do the views justice]
Yesterday we left at 5:15am to hike Mount Washington. Right now it’s 5:23am, 40° w/ 55mph winds and my hiking pants (and presumably my shoes) are soaked and cold. At 6:30 the strange people who upkeep the hut (most of whom have the personality of Coldstone’s employee of the month) are going to wake us up with a “special song” so we can eat their breakfast.
But, lets rewind a little, how’d I get here? We started our hike at 10:30 am, we had eaten breakfast an hour before and were ready to go. When we got to Pinkham’s Notch (the base of the mountain where we parked) we weighed our backpacks.
Jimmy: did not weigh
Then we began our route which was Tuckerman’s Ravine to Lion’s Head, then back to Tuckerman’s Ravine until the summit. I expected it to take 4 hours at most. Then we were going to hike down the other side a bit to the Lakes of The Clouds hut.
It was a fun hike, we started off pretty fast with somewhat frequent breaks for sore muscles. After eating some energy packed snacks I was bouncing off the wall and ready to keep moving. As most mountain hikes are, the beginning was all under tree cover for almost 2 hours. Then it opened up with a great view of the highway below and other mountains miles and miles away.
(Josh snacking and opening his mouth for his trail mix waaay before he has to)
As we went higher from this point the hike got significantly steeper and rockier. Thus far we had enjoyed great weather but were aware the forecast predicted rain. We continued with a breathtaking view at our backs. Then we got to a ridge line, looking down it looked like at least 1,500’. Wind was rushing up this bowl like formation over us, which felt fantastic! And it was another incredible view.
Then began phase two of the hike: The Wet Phase. It started to sprinkle. I got a little excited because it was time to use the raincoat that I had spent $100 on. But I was hoping it wouldn’t rain too much since the raincoat was really the only waterproof clothing I had, besides my boots which I had used a waterproof spray on. Soon after the rain began it ended and I was hit with 2 layers on plus the raincoat. So I took it off only to find out that I needed it 30 minutes later. It started to rain more steadily but the wind was slamming it into us. We were 45 minutes from the summit but had no idea. As the rain continued the rocks eventually got wet which slowed our climb a bit. But eventually we made it to the summit. By now my hiking pants along with my backpack were both pretty wet. We celebrated summiting the mountain, forgetting that we still needed to hike to our hut. In total it took us 4:50.28 to reach the summit. We took shelter in Mount Washington’s state park building, which had a kitchen with an incredibly tempting chili in a bread bowl. It was 4:45 and I hadn’t eaten more than snacks since breakfast. But, under Jimmy’s advice I waited until we got to the hut for our free food. We had fun at the gift shop, Shane looked for pants because he had been climbing in shorts this whole time (the secret to a 15lb backpack). But only ended up finding a t-shirt which he joyfully purchased.
As we took refuge from the rain we looked at one of the few doppler radar screens that were displayed in the building. And I didn’t like what I saw, a storm complete with lightning that covered Vermont was 20 minutes away. We realized our only option was to just go, we wouldn’t beat the storm but if we waited it would have been dark. So we started out, only to find that visibility was worse (oh yeah forgot to mention that there was fog) and it was raining harder. And this time it was blowing into our faces. At least we were descending, but we still slipped around a bit (I’m surprised none of us fell at all). After a little more than an hour and 15 moments of “I think I see the hut!” We eventually walked in. We met a girl at the desk who looks like Maeby Funke and then found a room (later on we were told that the bunks we took were bunks that some Asian kids planned on sleeping in, but they did nothing to show that this is where they planned on sleeping). As I took my gear off I realized my pants were absolutely soaked (just felt them, they still are) along with the inside of my shoes. So in a hut (cabin really) where I can see my breath I had to put on my basketball shorts.
Now it was time for dinner, 4 long tables with benches. They served Sourdough bread, turkey soup, salad, and stuffed shells. During the bread Jimmy and Shane cut it first (as I type this Josh just climbed out of the bunk above me and I tickled his leg) then they passed it to me. I started cutting before I was going to pass it along then the woman next to me (oh my God the hut workers are singing a song! Josh is out there going to the bathroom! It’s too late for him! AHH! They’re too joyful I may need to finish this post later) and then she said
“you know, you can cut the bread and serve it to everyone.”
Well excuse me! This lady gives me attitude in front of all 10 people at our table and puts me on the spot so I can’t say no. So I cut the shit out of this bread. Even slices, not slanted, not torn. By this time the soup has been served and people are eating. Then she tells me
“There’s enough for everyone you can stop now, thank you”
And then I responded with
“No it’s ok, I’ll just do it all now”
But what I meant was
“I want you to feel bad for giving me attitude so I’d feel guilty about not serving everyone bread.”
Sorry I just had to get that out.
After dinner we went back to our room and I went right to sleep and slept from 8-4:45am, then I woke up and started writing this.
Now I’m writing this after breakfast. We had Oatmeal, a blueberry muffin, two strips of bacon, scrambled eggs with peppers and onions. And tea! After breakfast we had to hike back to the summit of Mount Washington with our wet gear. We ended up bumming a trash bag off of one of the AMC hut workers and cut it into strips so we could shield our feet from out wet shoes. Josh’s rope that he bought and we made fun of him for really came in handy, we tied the bags strips around our feet and ankles. This was a life saver, we might have had to deal with hypothermia otherwise.
(Josh’s trash bag foot, I can’t even begin to explain how helpful these were)
We left the hut towards the Washington peak. Thankfully we didn’t have to hike all the way down. We found out that there’s a shuttle that will take us from the summit down. Climbing to the summit again was pretty straight forward.
(Jimmy and I on sharing chocolate covered almonds)
There were 40mph winds and the rocks were wet but there wasn’t any rain thankfully. After about an hour of hiking we got to the summit where the wind was much more intense. Gusts were around 70 miles per hour. We tried to take pictures of each other with the Mount Washington sign but it was very difficult. Standing on the uneven rocks long enough to take a picture wasn’t easy. We managed to get a few before we went back to the state park building to wait for our shuttle.
(Shane and I at the Mt. Washington summit, 70 Mph gusts!)
It was a great hike, the views were some of the best I’d ever seen. The wind and rain were pretty tough to deal with but it’s fun to look back on. I definitely need more serious gear. My pants held off the rain a little but when they got wet they stayed wet for a while. And my shoes did very little to keep water out. Even though I sprayed them with a waterproof spray. My raincoat was a life saver! It’s been a while since I’ve been this happy with a purchase (Thanks Marmot). Next I need a bigger backpack and some more rain gear. But, it has to be lightweight. 18lbs is a lot to carry on your back. I think it went down a pound or two after I drank some water which was good. It was a great trip and the weather provided a unique experience, and potentially dangerous. I’m glad I didn’t end up on the list of 150 people who’ve died on the mountain. The most recent of which was 3 months ago. I don’t know what we’ll do next but I’d like to stay away from the 5000’ers, the weather at the base can be 70° and sunny while its 70mph winds and 40° up top.
1996 Toys R Us Holiday Catalog.
The real irony here is that it confirms something I’ve been accused of making up. SNES games were more expensive than the PSX ones. Gods, I feel old looking at these, but the nostalgia is wonderful.
Man, a clear DS/3DS would’ve been freaking awesome, and it’s a shame they stopped doing that sort of thing.
Games were expensive as butts man, and back then we didn’t all have internet. You had no way of knowing if a game was good or bad, except with rentals. Still, a bad rental could ruin your entire weekend.