Mt Washington (Area)
Yen is in Hawaii (probably a topic for another post…), so you’ll have to forgive the quality of the photos you’re about to see. As I was packing for the annual company outing to the Mt Washington area, I almost left my camera behind. I’ve become so used to Yen’s superior photography skills, and I gifted my decent little camera to Jenny recently. So all I have is a silly little pink Elph. I think it managed Ok.
You may recall our trip last year. We climbed Hedgehog Mountain, and then visited East Pond on the way home. If you remember that, you may also remember how excited I was at East Pond when we came upon moose droppings. The closest I’d come to a moose sighting in all the years I’ve lived out here. You’ll see in a minute why that memory is important.
This trip is a tradition as old as my company (30 years next year). Each summer employees and families make the journey 2.5 hours north and into the White Mountains, where lodging is generously paid for using the proceeds from sales of software to companies like BMW. Suckers! There’s a big welcome reception that I have skipped two years in a row now because not even the promise of a chocolate fountain can keep me up so late. The old timers get to stay in the Mt Washington Hotel itself, pictured here. Just try looking at it and not thinking, “Come play with us, Danny.”
Here’s a view of the front veranda, which practically begs you to come and sit a spell (someone will be along with a gin and tonic presently.
If you’re still a youngster like me (I’ve been there about a year and a half now), you stay in nearby places. This time I roomed with friends in a beautiful townhouse. As I said, the camera couldn’t capture it properly. But this was the view from the top porch.
Laura said it was particularly lovely at 5:30 this morning when she was up and waiting for her daughters to come home from an evening of socializing. I felt so old being around them this weekend. Old and fuddy, that’s me!
I drove up alone Friday afternoon, checked into the townhouse, and discovered that it has no air conditioning. That’s almost never a problem up in the mountains, but we were just at the tail end of a profound heat wave. I opened every window in the place and turned on the ceiling fan. As night fell, doors kept opening and slamming themselves in the breeze, and my mind went back again to scary novels.
After a good night’s sleep, the Merriams and I decided to tackle Mt Willard. You may remember that from a couple of Octobers ago when I climbed in while suffering bronchitis. I still really like this walk. It’s only 3.2 miles round trip, following a little creek much of the way, and you’re never climbing so steeply that you need a long rest.
Here are my friends Laura and Steve at the top.
I’m always telling Laura that she and Mom would be best friends. They would quilt and chat away for hours.
I had them take a photo of me for Yen. It’s nothing like all of the photos I’m sure he’s taking for me in Hawaii. But it’ll do.
We headed home and did some nice napping. Then there was a big dinner at the Mt Wash hotel followed by a pretty crazy fireworks display. I headed to the townhouse early for another terrific night’s sleep: the heat has broken! And then I headed home.
The drive is so pretty that you just relax and enjoy going up and down hills, seeing the next beautiful view. There’s always a decent amount of traffic, and no one’s in a huge hurry. But about an hour into the drive, I came upon a mini traffic jam. People were parked along the side of the road and standing pointing at something, while drivers ahead of me were stopped and hanging out their windows. When I realized what it was, I immediately pulled over to the side, hopped out, and started running. My first moose sighting!
I kept walking and was able to get close enough that the little zoom on the camera could pull off these shots.
Isn’t she beautiful? I turned then and decided to give someone else a turn, and heard everyone behind me gasp. She was moving up the hill toward the crowd. She stopped after a bit and people stepped back to give her room. I made it back to the car and slowly started driving on. And then I realized what she was protecting and snapped this terrible photo as I dove by. See the baby there on the left?
I’ve been waiting to see a moose since I first moved out here and began to see “Moose Crossing” signs. I’ve tried driving on all the little winding roads that people say are good for spotting them (usually in the Spring when they come down to lick the salt), and have hiked in known moose territories. But who ever imagined I’d finally get to see one along Interstate 93?