Picture Perfect Day on the Rockpile
Mount Washington Auto Road 6/15/2011
Now and then I get the opportunity to introduce people to Mount Washington by bringing them up the famous Mount Washington Auto Road. Though I prefer to hike this mountain, the Auto Road is sometimes the best way to introduce people to the mountain. One can take the time to stop and point things out that might otherwise be overlooked on a strenuous hike to the summit.
From Turnout at Four Mile
My cousin Mary and her husband Dave along with their friends Brad and Margaret were thrilled to join me on this trip. Mary and I had been planning to make this trip for years since Judy, Emma and I had visited her home in Asheville, North Carolina to climb the highest point east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell. When we made that hike we were struck by the many differences between these two six-thousand foot plus mountains. It was hard to convey the differences to someone who had not visited Mitchell's northerly brother, so they made the journey north to, among other things, see Mount Washington for themselves.
Diapensia Diapensia lapponica
They were immediately struck by the stark differences a thousand miles of latitude could make. The wind-blasted, barren wasteland above timberline inspired awe and amazement when they considered that there were full grown trees at the summit of Mitchell. Each mountain holds a beauty of its own, relative to its location. We were fortunate to find some of the many types of wildflowers still in bloom such as Labrador Tea, Bearberry Willow and Diapensia.
View South Along the Montalban Ridge and Dry River Wilderness
After seeing the historic Tip-Top House we ventured into the Sherman Adams Building where I was able to get them a tour of the Observatory which they found fascinating. During the tour they got to see the living quarters where I spend time cooking and cleaning for the crew on my volunteer weeks. When we again reached the bottom of the Auto Road after our visit, we continued down through Pinkham Notch, then back up through Crawford Notch to complete our circumnavigation of the mountain we had begun that morning from Twin Mountain.
My Cousins on the Left, New Friends on the Right, and Me
To complete the tour we stopped at Woodstock Station for sandwiches and beer. I was home in time for opening face-off and watched the Bruins win game seven to take the Stanley Cup for the first time since they made an indelible mark on my thirteen year old psyche thirty nine years earlier. Yeah, I'd have to say it was a pretty good day!
Complete set of pics HERE: