We start off for Mt. Washington at a decent hour. Parking near the trailhead is already packed, forcing us to find a spot in the overflow lot. Maybe we should have arrived earlier. Setting out on the trail almost makes you feel claustrophobic – people are two steps ahead of you – a large group of kids is gaining fast on you from a corner behind – noise is everywhere; it’s packed. Two thirds of a mile finds a more peaceful hike and I begin to breathe.
Drawing my attention first is that I’m hopping from rock to rock already and we’ve barely begun. Something any Mt. Washington hiker should immediately become accustomed to. A beautiful waterfall welcomes you before long and offers a great vantage point before the real rough work starts. Not long in and you begin catching glimpses of higher elevations – only making each step feel more difficult as the big picture sets in as to how much further you have to go. The surroundings are amazing however, which makes each corner something to look forward to.
Approaching the ranger cabin at Tuckerman Ravine offers some of the most amazing views of the mountain one can find. Located in a basin, you are completely encompassed by peaks – a great spot for a picnic lunch and some photos for the dining room wall. The area has a few small caches for survival supplies in case of injury, particularly during ski season (which I cannot fathom rushing down these steep slopes, but have friends who thrive on it). We safely eat our sandwiches, pack up and press on for the top….