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(updated July 15, 2014)

New Hampshire's
White Mountains

Page Menu:   |  Intro  |  Mt. Washington   |  The Old Man   |  Links

My Hiking Playground

Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain - Franconia Notch

I only live minutes from these wonderful mountains. What's really nice is that I can have breakfast at my home and easily have lunch on some nearby summit.

This is where I grew up and where I first learned to appreciate the wilderness. Hiking is something that I have done since I was a little kid, as my brother was an avid hiker and backpacker. I never get lost or afraid when I'm in the mountains. That only happens to me in cities.

Below is a video that I found on YouTube, which begins on an early frosty January morning in the White Mountains. It opens with some clips of the sun rise over Mount Washington, which were taken from the northwestern side of the mountain (just 25 miles from my home). Then you travel around to the other side of the mountain, where the snowcat journeys up the Mount Washington Auto Road.

"An early January morning in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, taking the specially equipped Snow Coach up Mount Washington in subzero temperatures  and 38 mph winds for the spectacular views!" [video by Nashua Video Tours]

Page Menu: | Intro | Mt. Washington | The Old Man | Links
Mount Washington in Winter

My brother actually backpacked in the middle of winter, including sleeping out in a tent overnight.

He and some friends once backpacked up Mount Washington in February,

spending the night in a tent, above timberline, with temperatures well below zero.

The next morning they backpacked on to the summit, where the wind was blowing so hard

that they could barely stay on their feet.  He said that it actually sounded like a jet engine.

They later found out that at the time they were crossing the summit of Mount Washington,

the average wind speed was about 90mph, gusting to 110, and the temperature near 30 below.

He said that they were dressed more like astronauts than hikers, but it was still a wee bit chilly!

Warning Sign at Timberline on Mount Washington

From the Mount Washington Observatory website:

"Home of the World's Worst Weather"

Mount Washington presents the most severe combinations of wind, cold, icing and

storminess available anywhere in the world  where people are on hand to take measurements.

The summit lies in the path of the principal storm tracks and air mass routes affecting the northeastern United States,

and it is, because of its elevation, biologically and ecologically similar to the subarctic zone.

Mount Washington Facts

Elevation: 6,288 feet (1,917 meters) -  Latitude: 44 16' N  -  Longitude: 71 18' W

Highest wind (world record, April 12, 1934): 231 MPH (372 KPH)
Average wind velocity for the year: 35.3 MPH (56.8 KPH)
Winds exceed hurricane force (75 MPH) (121 KPH)on an average of 104 days a year.

Lowest temperature (state record, January 1934): -47F (-44C)
Highest temperature (August 1975): 72F (22C)
Average temperature for the year: 26.5F (-3C)

The summit is in the clouds about 60% of the time.
Average annual snowfall: 256 inches (21.3 feet)
Maximum snowfall in a season (1968-69): 566.4 inches (47.2 feet) (14.4 meters).
Maximum snowfall in calendar year (1969) 495.2 inches (41.3 feet) (12.6 meters).

Tuckerman Ravine Trail on Mount Washington at 20 Below Zero

Tuckerman's Ravine, Mount Washington

Summit of Mount Jefferson

Page Menu: | Intro | Mt. Washington | The Old Man | Links
The Old Man of Franconia Notch

May 3, 2003: "The Old Man of the Mountain, the enduring symbol of the State of New Hampshire, is no more.

The stone profile that draws hundreds of thousand of visitors to Franconia Notch State Park each year

collapsed early on the morning of Saturday, May 3rd . . .

The weather had been extremely harsh in Franconia Notch over the weekend.

High winds, fog and heavy rain, along with freezing temperatures overnight, may have all contributed to the collapse."


Before May 3, 2003                                 Before/After Composite Image   

On the morning of May 23, 2003 the news that the Old Man had fallen spread rapidly through the neighboring towns.

Like many local residents, my best friend and I immediately made the short drive up to the notch to say our goodbyes.

It was so sad.  People were standing all around the base of the mountain, staring up at the spot where he had always been.

It felt like a funeral, and I personally felt like I had lost a close friend.

I know that may sound like I'm being over dramatic, but I'm not.

You have to understand how much the Old Man had meant to us who live here.

He was the symbol of our state.

His image is everywhere:

on our license plates . . . on our road signs . . . on our public vehicles . . . and on our driver licenses.

He was supposed to last forever.

But nothing lasts forever . . . not even mountains.

Page Menu: | Intro | Mt. Washington | The Old Man | Links

Old Man Museum - History and information

Mount Washington Observatory

Mt. Washington.com

Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol - Tuckerman's Ravine

New Hampshire State Parks - Official Site

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