Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mount Washington- July 6

We left our home,and the cat in it, in the driveway of our niece Karen and her husband Paul's home in Enfield. Our plan was to take a two day trip through the White Mountain National Forest. The first day we took the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit of that mountain, which is the highest mountain in the Northeast. When we arrived there and went to purchase our tickets we found that we had a two hour wait. So we thought we could kill some time taking a trail up the mountain. We soon discovered that we were walking on the same type of trail that we seem to be doing a lot of lately- steep, wet and rocky (note picture here). We did not last long on that hike and after about an hour returned to the train station. Back in 1866 a Mr.Marsh decided that everyone should be able to get to the top of Mount Washington in safety. He had once almost perished on the mountain because of a fierce storm. Incidentally, this mountain has the worse weather in the world. The highest wind velocity was recorded in 1934- 231 M.P.H. The building of the railroad began in 1866 and was completed in 1869. They have used coal powered steam engines to go on the cog railway (note the picture here of the train with the nasty black smoke billowing up). They have several biodiesel engines that they are using now and hope to eventually phase out the coal powered engine. It takes a thousand gallons of water and one ton of coal to get up the mountain. Part of the Appalachian foot trail crosses this mountain and at the summit we could see this trail marked by pyramidal piles of stones known as cairns. It was a slow bumpy ride to the top- it took one and a half hours- but the scenery was awesome and watching our car, as well as the others passing us, chug over the trestles up the steep incline was entertaining to me. John called it "hair raising". As an engineer he knew too much of the details of the mechanics of it all, for me ignorance is bliss. I just knew that the railway had a good safety record. The day we went up it was overcast and rainy in brief spurts. At the summit the sun was shining and we had a clear view for miles around. We had a good view of several mountain ranges around us- about nine peaks of the range closest to us have been given names of some of our United States' presidents- as Adams, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Clinton, Monroe, Franklin and Eisenhower. Intrigues me why those presidents were chosen. Anyway, it was an interesting train ride. Will complete the story of the rest of the trip through New Hampshire tomorrow.

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