This Tesla climbed Mount Washington

Never used the brakes!

In my forty years of visiting and living in New Hampshire, I’d never driven up the Auto Road to the top of Mount Washington – though the “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper stickers are ubiquitous. Today was a beautiful day, though, and Pam indicated she’d never been to the top of Mount Washington… so we went. As we passed through the toll gate we noted the Tesla Model Y battery was at 50%. We wound our way up the mountain, on extremely narrow roads with no guardrails and steep drop-offs on one side or another. The views were stupendous, but allowable only to the passenger! We reached the summit parking area with battery at 35%; it thus takes 15% of the battery to climb the mountain. But we earned most of it back! read on.

Summit of Mount Washington, after a drive up the Autoroad.
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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