Mount Washington Hotel

A beautiful day for a drive.

It’s been over six years since I was last at the Mount Washington Hotel, one of my favorite places in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Today was a beautiful day, in fall foliage season, so Pam and I decided to drive up there for lunch and a chance to enjoy the views along the way.

Northern New England has been suffering through an extended drought, ending yesterday with a very welcome and drenching rainfall. I’d guess we were two weeks too late for the peak colors at this latitude and elevation, the peak coming about 3-5 weeks ahead of schedule due to the drought. Although the colors were a bit muted today, it was still a beautiful drive.

The Mount Washington Hotel is one of the last great Grand Hotels from the early 20th century, and still carries much of its grandeur despite a thorough renovation and several recent expansions. We found a table on the patio looking out at Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, its granite ridgeline gray above the rust-colored fall foliage on the valley slopes below.

There were quite a few other people there, although it was mid-week, enjoying the clear mountain air and the warm days of early fall weather.

Fortunately, last weekend I explored the back roads of Lyme during what may have been its peak-colors day, and took many photos. I hope to post them soon.

Mount Washington

A beautiful hike up Mount Washington, near the summer solstice.

David on the summit of Mount Washington. After a busy spring term at Dartmouth I decided to take advantage of clear skies and a clear calendar to hike Mount Washington.  As I drove to the mountains, I could see that every mountain in New Hampshire was in the clear… except one.  A persistent cloud snuggled the summit of Mount Washington.  I headed up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail at 7:15am, and intermittent views ahead confirmed this cloud was stuck on the summit. Still, the trail passes many beautiful waterfalls and rocky formations, and I saw only one other hiker in the early morning chill.  I reached Lakes of the Clouds, and the AMC hut, in brilliant morning sunshine.

Fortunately, as I scrambled up into the cloud, it dissipated, and I reached the summit at 10am under sunny skies.  After exploring there for a while, I headed toward the northern Presies (Clay, Jefferson, Adams, Madison), to each of which still clung small patches of snow.  I hopped over the Cog Railway tracks, skirted Clay to the west, and dropped down the Jewell Trail to my starting point.  [It’s amazing how pleasant the Jewell Trail can be in good conditions – i.e., when it’s not dark, 30 degrees and raining, postholing through an ice crust; but that’s another story.]

See more photos.

climb: 4.5mi; 2h40 including stopover at hut; 3800’ gain

descent: 5.0mi; 2h08. 

route