If you live in the US, you’ve probably seen one of the iconic “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper stickers. For the rest of you, there’s a reason to be proud enough of your car to slap the sticker on. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the tallest peak in the Northeastern US (6,288 ft or 1,917 m) and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.
Normally, the view from a peak that high is limited to the hikers willing to trek up to it. But in 1852, it became one of the nation’s first tourist attractions. In 1861, a coach road, now known as the Mount Washington Auto Road, was opened to allow curious travelers to easily reach the peak, where there was a lodge and other amenities. There is some fascinating pre-Auto Road history as well; here’s the Wikipedia page for more info. Today, the Auto Road is kitsch free, giving the non-hiker breathtaking views as you slowly wind up the steep, narrow road on low gear. I personally would never have been brave enough to drive this, but lucky for me, Aleksi is more comfortable with such scenarios. We drove up the Auto Road as part of our August 2015 road trip from Maryland to Maine and back.
This image of the train that goes down the mountain (you have to go up in a van to take it down) is the only picture I have from the actual peak because the fog was very strong. While we only faced fog and a strong wind, the weather at the peak of Mount Washington is rather notorious. Hurricane-force winds are clocked from the observatory about 110 days a year! The Northern and Western Hemisphere records for strongest winds were recorded on Mount Washington in 1934 (for a while, it was the world record)….231 miles per hour (372 km/h)!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did not put the complimentary bumper sticker on my car. I stuck it in my scrapbook, so I’d be able to brag about this effortless summit long past the car’s lifetime.
[35mm shot with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here to see all the posts from this New England road trip.]