Seek the Peak

What a couple of days I’ve had!

I decided to take a long weekend with my boyfriend up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is a place that has been my happy spot and a place where I instantly relax. I can tell it’s becoming that way for Tim as well. This weekend was not entirely about relaxation. This weekend was about challenging ourselves.

It started with a lovely drive up to the condo where we were going to be staying with my parents. We stopped at our favorite halfway point, Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT, and tried some new beers. It was a nice way to kick off the weekend. It was made even better when, a few hours later, we reached the highest point on the Kancamangus Highway and pulled off at the scenic overview.

What a view!

Honestly, the pictures don’t do this view of the mountains, the moon, and Venus any favors. It was such a beautiful sight. We had seen the moon peaking out from the trees and decided to pull over to get a better view. It was so worth being cold to look at the sky with no light pollution to block the stars. Amazing.

After a little while, we continued down the mountain pass and made it to our weekend home. The next day was our challenge day: Mount Washington.

Now, Tim and I are fairly avid hikers. We go generally one day during the weekend every week. Especially if there is nice weather. For this trip, we wanted to push our selves to seek the 6,288 foot peak.

We started our ascent around 9am Saturday morning, taking the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to the summit. If you’re familiar with the area, this trail starts out down the road from the Cog Railway basestation. The initial outset of the hike was beautiful and not too challenging. I should say that it was nothing that we hadn’t attempted before. It was a walk through the forest.

Eventually we came across all sorts of beautiful waterfalls and mountain streams. Some of the sights were simply breathtaking, despite the college bros who seemed to surround us for a lot of the trail. Oh well.

Around the four hour mark we stopped to talk with a group of women who were a bit older than us but happened to also be from Connecticut. They took Thai picture of us before the moderate hike turned into a much harder one. After that picture was taken began the rock scrambles and climbing on our hands and knees up a granite rock face. Eventually, we reached almost the top.

Before you reach the summit of Mount Washington, you get to the Lake of the Clouds AMC Hut. It gives you some protection from the wind and, if you have a reservation, a place to sleep on top of the mountain. Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there is still over an hour left of hiking before you reach the summit. Even though it looked really, really close.

We continued on our way and after setting off from the trailhead a little over five hours earlier, we made it to the peak!

We were so lucky that day. More often than not, Mount Washington’s summit is hidden in the clouds. On Saturday, we had a perfect view of everything from the summit. The last time we were up top in October, we couldn’t even see all of the buildings because they were hidden in the clouds. This time, we had the perfect day!

Up top, we each got a cup of chili and a sandwich to prep us for the hike down. We took our time exploring and resting before making our way down.

We ended up making our hike a loop and took the Jewel Trail down off the mountain. This supposedly is the only moderate rated trail on Mount Washington. Just to get there, you have to get over the cog railway and head into the Great Gulf Wilderness.

In all, it took us eight and a half hours to do the whole trip. It was an incredible challenge but proved to myself that I can do it. I never thought that I would have been able to hike to this summit. Most people work all season to do this hike and I did it was no other mountains under my belt. I’m proud. I’m so happy that I did this.

The days after were a bit less challenging. We did a hike-and-hammock trip to Hedgehog Mountain and went to go see Glen Ellis Falls in Pinkham Notch.

On Monday we were supposed to camp out but there was quite a bit of severe weather. There was a confirmed tornado in Lincoln, where we ended up getting a hotel, and some flash flooding in places. During the storm clearing, we stopped by The Basin to see it after the storm. It was surreal. I’ve never seen it with so much rushing water and with no one else there! Honestly, it was magical.

To wrap up our trip on Tuesday, we stopped by an “old friend” at the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site. The Old Man fell in 2003 but New Hampshire is definitely working hard to make this still a place to enjoy nature and all of its mystery.

Our last stop was at Lost River Boulder Caves. I hadn’t been since I was a little kid but Tim had never been. Again, the rain had made quite the impact as the waterfalls and river were flowing. Some of the caves were closed due to flooding. We still had a great time as we challenged each other to make it through the caves. And yes, I did almost loose my iPhone in one of the caves when it fell out of my pocket. But I didn’t!

This was a much needed weekend and I can’t wait to get another one!

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