Mount Washington - 2013
Mount Washington stands at 6,288.2 feet and is the highest mountain in the Northeastern United States. This Mountain has the most bizarre weather patterns and worst weather in all America making the climb unpredictable even in the summer. The weather station at the top recorded the highest wind velocity ever recorded at 231 miles per hour on April 12, 1934.
Even hiking this monster in the summer you will need to pack for all seasons which can make your load a little heavier. Survival packs are an absolute must, you do not want to be caught off guard on this mountain. When hiking this mountain always prepare for overnights even if you were not intending on camping out.
I have had the absolute pleasure of hiking this beautiful mountain 3 times. My first experience I really had no idea what I was signing up for. My Brother Josh invited John and I to join him with his two buddies to go hike this mountain. I had hiking experience at state parks and local mountains back in Pennsylvania but had never seen anything higher than 2,300 feet. We all jumped into an adventure van and made our way to New Hampshire. The drive was a long 8 hours, but was made up by a cozy fire with roasted Krispy Kream glazed doughnuts. I remember seeing the bright sky with a million stars and feeling the cold northern air. Being it was in the middle of summer I had no warm clothes. It is safe to say that I was completely unprepared for our trip. Early the next morning we made our way to Washington. Seeing the mountain for the first time made me a little nervous, and I wondered if I was capable of making it to the top. We got up early and made our ascent up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail. It was a boiling summer day and my clothes were soaked with sweat by the time we made our way up to the cloud hut. The cloud hut was really amazing, we got to meet some really cool through hikers who told us their stories of the AT. We then ascended on the AT to Mount Monroe's peak at 5,372 feet.
We then descended back down to where we would set up camp on a beautiful waterfall. We ate dinner and called it a night. Being I was unprepared my sleeping bag was not warm at all. I was freezing and from all the hiking my legs were numb and shaking. I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme pain in my legs and shoulders. I will never forget looking at John and saying " John, I cant feel my legs". It was one of the longest nights of my life and I got little rest. The next morning we packed up our gear and set out back up to the cloud hut and ascended our way to Washington's summit. It was a completely different mountain than the day before. It was freezing and windy. I had very little food with me so I was starving, my body was in pain and I was numbingly cold. The visibility was very little. You could barely make out what was in front of you and any exposed skin got stung by the ice cold wind. The most difficult part was the final climb up on a endless rock staircase. I felt as though I was on another planet. Seeing the weather station made me feel like crying with joy. We made it to the peak and we didn't stay out to long due to the cold weather. We made our way into the visitor center, it was packed with tourist who drove up the mountain or took the cog train up. My energy was so drained at this point that I did not care if I sat on someones lap or napped on a table.
We ate and rested and then made our 3 hour descent down the jewel trail. As we made our way down the layers started coming off and we were back to the boiling summer heat. My knees were buckling, my legs were shaking and my feet were so sore. It was the best feeling ever coming back down to level ground and looking back up at where we just were. This experience was unforgettable, the experience sparked my interest for hiking more mountains. Washington is a mountain you can hike over and over again and have totally different experiences each time. This mountain is my favorite place and I cannot wait to visit it time and time again.