Mount Washington Guide Important Information
Tuckerman Ravine Trail – ~2.3
Lion’s Head Trail – ~1.4
Tuckerman Ravine Trail To Summit – ~0.6
Length – Approximately 4.3 miles one way going up
Note: The information is just an approximation.
Parking – Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
GPS Coordinates are 44.257076,-71.252780
The Start of The Journey
I rubbed my hands together, and blew them with warm air coming from my mouth, the chill from this autumn day made me dream of warm coffee inside a cozy cafe across the street from my house. I was far from my home and anything comfortable in the next few hours of my life were nothing more than wishful thinking of my imagination. The chill of the air swept through my body, not the cold hard bite of winter but just a nip that tells me that the season was changing. The trees that were once the color of spring and summer with their vibrant hues of green were turning gold and scarlet. The road that were once grey were littered with an ocean of dead leaves. A vast blanket of white mist made its home on the branches. It moved slowly, clinging to the branches, as if the mist was hugging and caressing the trees like a long lost lover. The sun’s rays attempted to pierce through the veil of leaves that surrounded us only to be discouraged by the white smoke that eerily blurred our path.
The trail was fashioned with various boulders and stones of different shapes and sizes. The trail moved endlessly upwards as we made our way through. The path never went down, only up and I was tired as hell, weary with the burden of photography equipment in my pack and various other gadgets I did not need. I was not prepared, I was new to hiking and packing my backpack was not something I was accustomed of doing. The trail was long and every step I made felt as if all of my energy was being drained, it was as if I was leaking electricity and no way to replenish it back. One step at a time, I forged on, hoping to see a vista that would be gratifying to my eyes and make the trip well worth it.
Tuckerman Ravine Trail
The golden leaves fall and danced through the air, spiraling its way through the wind. The trail was a series of steps that never seem to end, each step took more and more effort as we ascend higher and higher. “I knew I should have exercised more”, the same thought ran through my mind over and over. My body was not used to hiking as I have only been doing it for 3 months. My breath became heavier and heavier as if someone was pushing forcefully to bend my chest. Boulders and rocks protrude from the ground giving us a sense of a naturally aged path made by nature but from closer inspection, it was more likely placed there by human hands.
Various sounds from the trees, wind, streams, animals, and insects could be heard as we ascend the path. The forest played a concert for us to appreciate. The forest played one symphony after another, her leaves dancing to the gust of air, lovely birds chirping their songs, the branches sway back and forth to a rhythm I could only imagine and not understand. The forest sheltered various kinds of life; from the insects living in its roots, to the birds making their home on its bark, and to the various little animals that rely on it for food and protection. I was dead tired, dragging my feet but was still entranced by the beauty of nature. I held my hands up to feel the warmth of the shimmering white light piercing through the forest as it illuminated our path, taking us to new heights and welcoming us to new adventures that were just around the corner.
Lion Head Trail
When I thought the trail couldn’t get harder, I was terribly wrong. The Lion Head trail was not particularly hard for most hikers but as a beginner, it was excruciating. People passed us by giving us a cheerful good morning and goodbye, that was when I knew that I was the only one not fit for the hike as I inhaled and exhaled deeper and deeper. My body felt heavy as it wanted to stop and sit my way to the top, my muscles were sore and my mind was no longer on the beauty of nature but on how much energy I can muster to climb the rest of the way. After a while, I stopped thinking and my body moving without even my own will as if I was towing it to the top. The trail featured steep climbs and rock scrambles, gripping one boulder to the next just so I can get up higher. The road was littered with rocks taking away more energy from my body as I try to balance myself and keep myself from falling.
Regret entered my mind. “Why did I join this hike? Why did I carry a lot? I should have just stayed home.” As these thoughts entered my mind, my friend stopped and looked at the view from a clearing. He was standing there, not doing anything as if mesmerized by what he saw. I stood where he was and looked to the direction he was staring.
A vast blanket of white hung over the valley. It swooped in and verged around the trees, valleys, mountains and hills. It was whiter than anything I have ever seen and moved liked a hungry animal, eating everything along its path. The force of nature was like a big giant eraser, removing everything from sight. Eradicating what we saw into nothingness. It was silent, no footsteps nor sound. It was tongue less and creeped into anywhere it pleased. Trees, plants, hills, mountains, and anything else nature had to offer was swallowed up in whole. I was mesmerized. “We were above the clouds!” It was the first thought that came to my mind. I was smilling like a big child left all alone in a candy store. A smile that said, “WOW THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD!”
On Top Of Lion Head
The other hikers passed us by, kept moving without even taking a look at the clouds that were creeping towards us, but I stood there on a ledge still lost in wonder. It seemed to me that I stepped into a magical portal and entered a new world that I only see in television. A sparkle of amazement could be seen through my eyes and a smile so natural as if I have seen one of the greatest wonders of the earth. I have seen lots of sunny days, countless changing of seasons, fog, rain and mist, but I have never been standing on top of a mountain above the clouds before.
Moving back and forth, clicking my camera, watching with delight at the sights before me. Blue serrated mountains, and fiery red patches of the forest loomed up through the clouds. I took a deep breath and smelled the fresh air; the air that was very much quite different from the air from the city. I touched the cold coarse stone and patch of earth below me. It felt good as I remember the scene in Gladiator. The clouds move back and forth closing in on us then gradually moving back. They were like ocean waves as the clouds move back and forth as if they were trying to kiss the shore and then back again. The experience was very addictive and intoxicating and forever would become part of me.
Tuckerman Ravine Trail To The Summit
All about the trail were green boulders of different shapes and sizes plus other rocks unknown to my knowledge. Everywhere was an earthen smell that permeates in the air. My hands had wounds carved up from the jagged edges of the rocks. The short journey from the visitor center brought me far up to the mountain but not until this moment that I truly experienced the beauty of Mount Washington. In here, there were no plant life, no animals, nor birds nor insects could be seen nor heard. Only a pile of rocks or cairne, marking the path towards the top. A group of high school kids went down the trail and as I looked around, the clouds were still chasing us. The high school kids marched on through the path going straight to the clouds. They marched on as if they were about to jumped through a cliff. The clouds gave such a picturesque scene. It was a scene that I would not be able to take normally but I was there at the right moment and time. The long arduous journey was coming to an end but the universe saved the best for last. It was great.
The top of Mount Washington was a small town. It may have ruined the imagery of nature or the sense of adventure but I was enjoying the hotdogs, warm food, chili and soda at the comfort of the cafeteria.
I realize one important lesson. The wounds on my hands, the bruises on my legs, and the blisters on my feet have nothing to do with how strong I am. I am much more powerful and stronger than my mind sometimes wants me to believe. This body is amazing and a lot more wonderful than I ever imagined. I am more capable than I ever realized and conquering this mountain proved that. This body is beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent and the best gift I ever received in my life. I am working hard to remember that and to take care of myself always.
Until the next adventure…..
Mount Washington Dangers
The weather is the most dangerous part. The weather can change easily. I highly recommend bringing wind breakers and jackets even in July or summer. The second time I was here, we were greeted with lots of wind and coldness and it was in July. It was hot at pinkham notch visitor center but rather cold at the summit. Do not be fooled by the weather at the bottom. A lot of peole suffered hypothermia and other major body damages because they underestimated Mount Washington. There were lots of deaths that happened in this mountain because of the weather. It is one of the most dangerous little mountain in the USA.
Mount Washington Clouds
The clouds make this mountain very interesting. I don’t even want to go to this place when the weather is blue sky and clear. It is way too normal. This place is one of the best places to experience something adventurous or not ordinary. There is a sense of danger every time I go here. Even if it is just driving down the auto road, it still scary. The clouds create beauty and give us a great sense that nature is amazing. I still recommend going here when it is somewhat of a good weather because this place is dangerous. A sudden weather change can kill people but at the same time, it is very beautiful when there is an undercast.