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Mount Washington, New Hampshire (6,288')

 

As far as East coast highpoints go, Mount Washington, NH is likely the most famous.  Mount Washington is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, north of North Carolina, and south of Ellesmere Island in North America.  Notorious for severe weather, at one point of time boasting the highest official wind speed on record (231 mph on April 12, 1934), it is also one of the more deadly.  Every year many set out to hike this mountain without the proper gear or knowledge, resulting in severe consequences.

Alas, this would not be a highpoint that I would get to hike on this trip.  Due to our tight schedule, we had one day to drive from the NY/VT border all the way to the Baxter state park in northern Maine.  Along the way, a pit stop on the top of Mount Washington.  The road to the top is historic in its own right.  In fact the day we visited, Travis Pastrana would set a new speed record driving to the top.  Check out the YouTube video.  An auto enthusiast myself, I had a blast on the twisting road whose surface at times reverts back to dirt for stretches.

As we ascended into the clouds the weather worsened.  By the time we reached the top, intense wind and drizzle made for a less than pleasant experience.  The silver lining: we were able to make a comparison between the measured wind speeds on the summit of Mt. Washington to those we faced on Mount Marcy the day before.  The 35 – 45 mph gusts on the summit of Washington were pathetic compared to the ones forcing Stephenie off her feet.  By our estimates, the ones on Marcy must have been at least 60-80 mph.

After scouting out the museum and other structures we were back on the road, racing to beat the locking of the gate at Baxter state park.  We stopped at an interesting biker bar advertising Lobster salad sandwiches.  They we excellent, but we didn’t have time to waste.  If we didn’t get to the park before it closed, we would be stranded without a place to camp for the night.

Mount Washington (public domain)

Map of US HighPoints
KEY: States: Green - summited, Yellow - attempted, White - Not visited
Dots: Green - State Lowpoint, Red - State Highpoint

 

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