Postcards From Mount Washington

We started out the month of June with something that was a bit out of my comfort zone. I’ve been doing that more lately- trying things I haven’t ever done and taking chances on things that are a bit different from what I’m used to. I’m happy to report that so far, the results have been pretty great.

Ryan and I will be doing a summer hike with his family up in Maine this July, so in preparation, we decided we needed to hike a real mountain. Correction, I needed to hike a real mountain (see the fact that I just got a pair of hiking boots two months ago).

It was a four hour drive up into New Hampshire, but the views were beautiful and we only lost the GPS signal once.

Did I mention we had woken up at 4:45 so we could be on the trail by 9:30?

Oh, yeah, that was great. 

We did it though, and after a donut for luck, we were off. Ryan decided we’d have the best time on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, as he’s stayed at the Lake of the Clouds Hut a few times. It’s 3.8 miles from the base to the summit and a pretty good scramble. While the first 1-2 miles aren’t terrible, things get pretty steep pretty quickly. I remember thinking: This isn’t so bad. I don’t mind up. My legs really hurt, but up is okay. Good god how are we ever going to get DOWN? 

We hit a bit of snow (okay, a bit more than a bit) at the alpine zone but continued, snacking on Cheez-Its and drinking the, according to Ryan, “absolutely required 2 liters of water” we had packed.

I have to say, I actually liked the view at the Lake of the Clouds Hut better than the summit itself. Things were warmer and much clearer, so we stopped for a bit to take in the mountainous scenery. It was fun to make it to the summit though and say I actually did it, but boy did it get cold. I’ve learned that enjoying hiking comes down to how many proper layers you pack.

Overall, the trip took us a solid six hours, with a few breaks here and there, plus a longer stop for lunch. The hike was about as difficult as I had expected it to be and the way down definitely gave me a run for my money. I’m clumsy by nature (and genetics, thanks mom!) so we definitely took it slow. Ryan reassured me, however, that “careful is a lot faster than hurt.”

Overall, it was a really fun trip. We’re already looking into when we might be able to go again. I really want to stay in the Lake of the Clouds hut; I can only imagine what the sunrises in the morning look like from there.

Biggest takeaways? Be prepared. Bring extra water, food, and layer for any change in weather that might occur. You won’t mind the extra weight on your back if you’re fed and warm. Now, onto the next mountain!

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