September 25, 2011

The Ascent

The ascent up Mt. Washington began early. Leaving home before the sun rose, we arrived in time to find the only parking was in the overflow lot. Our packs are weighed to discover the real weight that would be stressing our ankles and knees over the next 8 miles. Today, it would be 24lbs.

We opt for the Tuckerman Ravine trail, one of the most scenic routes. We're informed that once we arrive at the ravine, the trail continues on to the summit. Anticipating the talked-about views, from the highest point in New England, we arrange our camelbaks, strap on our packs and set foot into the woods.

With the exception of the numerous wooden bridges appearing to be as dated as the trail, the entirety of the route is an ancient rock slide. I'd be exaggerating to say I placed five footsteps on solid dirt over 8 miles.

The trail head greets us with what seems like a bus load of hikers. Subject to the boisterous voices and blaring music from other nature-lovers and their iPods, we shot glances to each other - thinking the same thing - why did we come here to relax? It took only 15 minutes to remember the reason we came. Each group eventually found their individual pace and I felt at one with nature. The trail, rock-filled or not, is uniquely picturesque.

The first waterfall, rushing over the mountain side and below the foot bridge, fills the air with a welcoming white-noise that blocks all previous thoughts. We dangle our feet freely over the edge of the wooden bridge to enjoy a homemade granola bar. This is the life.

The blaze orange sign warns winter travelers to dangers present when the world's worst weather bestows itself upon the area.

The trail begins to narrow as we close in on the half-way point.

Reaching our first clearing, we take a moment and enjoy our new altitude and accompanying views.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail offers some of the largest waterfall drops in New England.

Take the time to enjoy what the woods have to offer. Be curious as to how long the river has run over those banks. Wonder how many men have stood in the same spot you stand. Today, I imagine who witnessed this sight for the first time. I bet he/she setup camp to enjoy this splendor for the evening.

At certain points in life, you turn a corner and are provided a view of your destination. The above is one of those points. After hours of hiking, you realize just how much is left to climb.

Marching on...

A visual representation of "roots run deep". Water flow has washed away a considerable amount of top soil.

The great basin provides spectacular views towards the summit. Still some ground left to travel...

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