We were up at 5:00am Sunday morning. Made it to the National Forest trailhead parking lot near the
Mount Washington cog railway, and began our hike at about 6:30am.
Mount Washington in the distance
There are several ways to get to the top. The auto road was built in the 1800’s and used by horse and carriage at the time, but now you can drive your own car ($$), you can have someone else take you in a van ($$$), you can rent an ATV ($$$$) or you can take the cog railway ($$$$$) which was built in 1869.
Or, you can hike up for free. (We had to pay a $3 parking fee at the lot.)
Ruth, admiring the scenery on the way up Mount Washington
A nice waterfall along the way
There are three most used trails to the top. We chose to take the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail (4.5 miles, 7.2 kms) up, and the
(5.0 miles, 8.0 kms) back down. The paperwork we had read states that “this is a rather demanding hike, suitable for the experienced and well conditioned hiker, that can be completed in a days time given an early start and good weather.” Jewell Trail
Uphill. It was like this for almost a mile!
So we started off at 6:30am, and made it to the Lake-of-the-Clouds shelter hut at 9:00am. Elevation at the parking lot was 2,560 ft and at the hut it is 5,000 ft.
Mount Washington summit is 6,288 ft. The first part of the trail was fairly easy, but the last mile up to the hut was very difficult and uphill every step of the way.
Starting to get up high
The "hut" at Lake of the Clouds. Elevation 5,000 ft.
We started off in shorts and tshirts but by the time we made it to the shelter, the temperature was about 55F (12C) and it was windy. However we were very lucky with the weather and it was a beautiful day. Visibility was good and the view was fantastic.
Starting to get a little chilly!
Hiking through the clouds towards the summit
Looking down at the Lake of the Clouds hut.
We rested in the hut for about 30 minutes and then took on the next 1.4 miles to the summit. It was pretty slow going and we reached the top at about 11:00am. One of the first things we saw at the top was the parking lot full of ATV’s and cars. I know the auto road and the cog railway were built in the 1800’s, but we have a hard time with the ATV thing. I mean, this is a National Forest and
. I thought their mandate was to leave things in a natural state. I think they have commercialized it way too much. But, it’s all about the money, right?! New Hamshire State Park
You round the top of the trail and you see the parking lot!
But, the view in the opposite direction is fantastic.
When we were at the top, the wind was gusting from 35-50 mph
However, the satisfaction of hiking to the top is so much greater than driving. I think the view is even better that way! We waited with the tourists to get someone to take our picture at the summit. I told the other people waiting there that the letters on the sign won’t show up in your picture unless you hiked to the top!
We didn’t linger at the top because we knew we had Whiskey waiting alone in
back at the campground. We had hoped to make it back there by 1:00pm, but it took a little longer to get to the top than we had expected. We headed back down via the Sherman . This trail was very hard on the legs, with lots of rocks. And of course we were already pretty tired from the hike up. It seemed like it was never going to end. Eventually, we got below the tree line again and back to the parking lot around 2:00pm. So the entire hike took us 7.5 hours, and other than the half hour in the hut, we didn’t really rest very much. Jewell Trail
They were right, this was a demanding hike. We were exhausted at the end of it, and my knees and legs are pretty sore this morning. In fact, we would say this is the most difficult same day hike we have ever done.
Made it back to Whiskey and she looked at us like “it’s about time, where have you been?!” Ruth took her for a little stroll and sat outside with her, but all I could do was to lie down and have a nap!
I think we’re just going to relax and recouperate for the next couple of days!
When we got back to the Apple Hill Campground, we were going to move
to the field and stay overnight there for $10. The owner, Rob, accepted our $10 but said we could stay put right where we are in our site with the full hookups. I thought that was great, and a really kind gesture on his part! I really didn’t have the energy to move us anyhow! This guy always had a smile on his face and was a really helpful host. I have no problem recommending this campground and we look forward to visiting here next time we’re in the area. Sherman