Mid July we found a great little Sunday for my husband, a couple friends and I to hike the big rockpile. We leave our dog Mizpah home for the northern Presidentials. The rocks can be very tough on their pads and joints. I have hiked Mt. Washington in late March before, which was still very wintery. I had never hiked it in the summer. There are quite a few routes up and down it; people hike it, ski it, drive up it, take ATVs up it (on special days), bike it, take the cog railway, and run it! The weather on Mt. Washington can be some of the worst weather on the planet, and I believe the number of deaths up there is hovering around 150 since 1849. Many deaths have been from hypothermia, and then there are accidents, and of course things like heart attacks. My husband accuses me of putting Washington on a pedestal, but man, it really is something. He is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,288 feet (EDIT- this is incorrect and apparently just something I say haha, tallest peak east of the Mississippi is actually Mount Mitchell at 6684 ft in NC).
We took the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail up, and the Jewell Trail down. Those trails are on the cog railway station side of the mountain. Someday I really want to do the Tuckerman Ravine Trail which is the most popular trail and is on the Pinkham Notch side. There are a few features over there I want to see like the Harvard cabin and the Lunch Rocks. My husband convinced me that a beautiful summer Sunday was not the day to do the most popular trail there 🙂
The Tip Top House, built as a hotel in 1853 is the oldest structure on Mt. Washington, and might be the oldest mountain top holstery in the world! The last time I was up on top of Mt. Washington in March of 2015, the Tip Top House had snow up the to the top of the windows, you could only see the roof!!
Mt. Washington is more than just a part of the White Mountain National Forest, its a New Hampshire State Park. In the summer months, summit visitors can check out the Tip Top House which is sorta staged like the hotel it once was, enjoy the amazing views, hit up a gift shop, check out weather exhibits, and get a slice of pizza at the little food court. It was bizarre to say the least. Also, the cell service is amazing up there; I passed no less than 4 hikers on their phones on the Jewell Trail coming down : | It is what it is, Mt. Washington is special and so we all must share it. My memories of being up there in a winter wonderland with maybe 3 other people the last time I was there are now even more precious. It was definitely a long day; cool, raw, and misty to start, and then sun beating on us above treeline coming down. Thats how it is with Washington though, you obsess over the forecast in the days leading up to your hike, but truly you have no idea.
It wasn’t Mt. Washington until the late 1700s. Before then it was known by its Native American name, Agiocochook, which means “Home of the Great Spirit”. This mountain definitely lives up to that name.