Jul 30, 2014

Trail Hikers Climb Mount Washington

Shawn McCarton and Karl Weiss near the end of their trail hike that started in Georgia.

Trail Hikers Climb Mount Washington

It's time to check in with  our local Applachian Trail hikers as they near the end of their journey. What follows is their account of climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

We all slept on the floor in the dinning room. We woke up and started packing at 615. Hungus and I didn't want to stick around for breakfast so we were hiking by 715. 

We walked outside and the wind was gusting. The tip of mt Washington was still in a cloud. We hiked up the rock pile and ascended into the cloud. We could see about 50'. The wind gusted up to 50mph. As we came close to the top we could hear the wind whipping through the weather towers. We didn't know we were at the top until the towers came into view only feet from us. We walked around and found Scrambo by a building. It looked like we were in some polar climate during a blizzard. I imagined it was something my father would have seen in Antarctica. A guy came out and we asked him if the visitor center was open. He worked at the observatory and directed us to the door. 

We walked in and felt as if we were in an emergency shelter. We made our way to the hiker room, the basement, and plugged our phones in to charge. Hungus and I set about exploring the building. We went to the museum and the girl let us in for free since it was so early, 815. We bought some postcards and learned about Marty the resident cat. Apparently they always have one. Shortly after we saw Marty who, by the way, has his own postcard. 

By the time we were done, the cafeteria was open so we got some breakfast and coffee. Pof and some other hikers had shown up but no tourists yet. It was peaceful having the place to ourselves. At 930 the first load of tourists showed up via the cog railway. They still run the coal engine once every morning. We watched it top the mountain and stop and then the chaos began. 

Tourists of all kinds began to take over the visitor center. We killed time by watching the clouds blow over and intermittently give us views. I was sitting around when Hungus came running over and exclaimed brownie, krispie Kreme and diesel were outside!!!! We haven't seen them since Damascus and they finished the trail on aug 8th, what were they doing there? Turns out brownie had missed this section because diesels paws were sore. She had come back to slack it and she just so happened to be starting that day. Everyone came out and we all chatted for awhile. Krispie said he'd be around if we needed any shuttles over the next few days. By this time it was 1130 and the view was not clearing. We had waited for 3 hrs and decided to go. We ate some lunch and headed out. 

Hungus, sunkist, roller and I WAITED ON LINE to hike to the summit (10') and get our picture taken. Some women exclaimed how people in t-shirts should go first. We all wanted to say people WHO HIKED FROM GEORGIA should go first but we bit our tounges and waited. Rock Fish took our pictures and we disappeared into the fog down the side of the mountain that most tourists don't go, the AT. 

The trail followed the cog railway for a bit and we waved as the trains passed. Tradition is to moon the train but we opted not to get fined. After 20min of decending, we looked back to see that the clouds had lifted and the view from the wash was clear, so it goes. 

The next 4 miles were still above tree line and it was beautiful. We traversed the rock piles that are the presidential range. Around clay and jefferson and some others. We also skirted Adams before heading down to Madison hut. The views were unlike anything I have seen. We met up with our crew at Madison hut and took a break while eating some soup. We had 3 more miles to go to the ossgood campsite. 

We climbed and I mean climbed up Madison and saw the rocky spine we were to trek down. I lead the way as the four of us (Hungus, Sunkist, Roller and I) chatted about this and that. The wind would gust so hard at times we had to stop walking in order to brace ourselves. Eventually we made it back below tree line but still had 2000' to climb down. 

We made it to camp at 715 and found Tater Tot, Towlie, Cheese Water, POF, FM, Medicine Man and Dakota Dan sitting around the fire. We all found homes and set up. Just as we joined the fire it started to drizzle. We set up our tarps and it stopped. Hungus and I decided to cook by our hammocks. Everyone gathered by us for some evening socializing. We all commented on how beautiful the walk was and the amazing views. Around 9 we all retreated to our respectful homes. 

The whites have been amazing so far and I can't believe we have actually climbed mt Washington!!! There's more to come and i can't wait!!

Leave your comments and best wishes for Shawn McCarton (Pace) and Karl Weiss (Hungus) below.

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