The Presidential range is one of my favorite sections of New Hampshire's White Mountains for its spectacular scenery. Most summits are named after American presidents and some are the highest in the North Eastern United States. Mount Washington stands at 6288 feet and for several decades held the record for strongest measured wind (231 mph). Weather conditions can be very dangerous and several people have died from exposure as well as other causes such as avalanches and falls. Winter weather conditions being sometimes extremely harsh, the area serves as training ground for expeditions to such places as Denali or the Himalayas. This report covers two hikes: one in 2010 going up Mount Washington via the Boott Spur trail and another, going up Monroe and finishing off on Webster. For the latter hike, my friend Michelle and I did a car spot. I had a really good time going over Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce and Webster listening to her cheerful, witty and amusing stories and remarks.
The summit of Mount Washington was crowded on the day I went up; there is an auto road that reaches the summit and a large parking lot and several installations for tourists (including a gisft shop). One has to line up to have their picture taken next to the summit sign. The sign is actually on a pile of boulders and one woman in high heel shoes fell on her way down the rock pile. There is also a weather observation station.
While going up Monroe, I noticed a chimney of black smoke over the trees. My first thought was that this could be a fire perhaps but as she noticed it, she mentioned the cog railway...it is the oldest mountain-climbing cog railway dating back to 1868 and it goes all the way up to the summit of Mount Washington. I first saw it when I went up Mount Washinton in 2010.