Well, to start off we didn't do our homework on Mt. Katahdin as to getting to the trailhead. We found out at the Visitor's Center that we could not drive our Dually trucks up the road to the trailhead due to our width. We are too wide for opposing traffic to pass us on the road. Because we had not researched that aspect until just the day before the hike we were not able to check into shuttles that might be available to take us there. That left us with choosing a different option for a hike.
We chose the Cranberry Pond trail just inside the outer gate since we were not allowed to go any further. The weather was cool and cloudy so we had long sleeves and all but Steve wore pants(he had shorts on). Anyway, it was a good thing we did because as we got out of the truck to head to the trailhead we saw a family exit the trail with mosquito netting on over their faces and lots of clothing.
They told us the mosquitos were terrible and to be careful. Good thing we brought mosquito repellent too. We headed back to the truck and really sprayed down good. We got out gear on and out we went.
Sure enough right away the mosquitos began to swarm around us. Happy to say the repellent did work very well and we only got a few bites on our hands where we hadn't sprayed any repellent.
The trail was fairly wide and the ground was very boggy feeling with lots of moss and ferns around us. As we hiked the trail we could only stop for a moment to take photos before the swarm would force us to keep moving. Here are a few photos of the trail.
Interesting terrain with wonder views of Cranberry Pond. If it weren't for the mosquitos the hike would have been more fun. The good part was hiking with friends.
That ended our hiking opportunity in Maine with us all leaving the next day as we continued our travels into New Hampshire. New Hampshire is a beautiful state and tons of hiking trails too.
We again were looking at the highest peak in NH which is Mt. Washington. We started researching the mountain and found out that to get to the peak it is considered a challenging, strenuous hike up to 6,288 feet above sea level. Not for those who are not in the most tip top shape. In addition the peak has winds of up to 50 mph and the highest records winds there were clocked at 232 mph. Also it cost about $29 for the vehicle and driver plus additional $9 for each adult passenger to drive your own vehicle to the summit and we would be prohibited by the width of our trucks.
We drove to the base where the visitors center is on the Mount Washington Auto Road and to take a shuttle the 8 miles to the top instead of putting ourselves through a grueling hike. The shuttle cost was $36 per person adult and $31 per person senior. So the cost was a wash even if we could have driven our own vehicles. The shuttle is a guided 2 hour tour round trip. They also have a cog rail train but that takes much longer to get up to the top and the shuttle was only 30 minutes. The temps at the base were in the 70's and the forecast at the summit was 45 degrees and 40-50 mph winds.
After checking in we had to wait for the shuttle so we went through the museum next to the visitors center. Quite a history related to methods of travel to the summit over the last 100 years.
Getting to the summit by carriage and horse took about 4 hours each way. Over the years with technology and introduction of the auto things changed rapidly.
A volunteer at the museum gave us a wonderful presentation and fact related to the history of Mt. Washington.
Then the shuttle came and we boarded the van. The van is geared very low with oversized brakes to handle the extreme incline and decline to and from the summit.
The drive ups gave us fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.
Ski trails across the valley
Once at the top we really felt the difference in temperature and wind.
Steve and Debbie at the summit
Glenda about to take off
Had to turn the hat around and hold on tight
There were some areas where it was almost impossible to stand up against the wind and the wind chill was ferocious. We didn't stay outside too long before heading to the summit visitors center and gift shop to warm up.
My phone petered out after a few photos so I didn't get all I wanted. We had a great time and a much easier time of getting to the summit than trying to hike it. Steve and Debbie accomplished their goal.
The Historic Tip Top House is located adjacent to the geological summit. It was renovated in 1986 to simulate its first construction with period furnishings. In 1853, the Tip Top House was the second stone house built on the summit. All materials were hauled nine miles on horses over rough trails from Randolph, N.H. Originally it was built as a competing hotel, but eventually was combined with the other as a dining room, barroom and parlor.
Our next peak was in Vermont near the town of Stowe. Lots of touristy things to do here. More on those things in another post. Teaser....Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Cabot Cheese and Breweries.
Ok, we struck out on our first two attempts to hike to the peaks in Maine and New Hampshire so Debbie was not going to let another attempt at a peak pass her by in Vermont. Let me preface this hike....This is an 8 mile round trip challenging, strenuous slogging hike to the peak of Mount Mansfield. Glenda typically does not do hikes over 2-3 hours and 2-3 miles. However Debbie is very persuasive and Glenda decided to attempt the hike.
We drove to the Underhill State Park to get to the trailhead for the Sunset Ridge trail then after paying the entrance fee we had to hike up a road for a mile to get to the actual trailhead. Now we're talking all of this a constant uphill. So far so good. Now we get on the trail and continue the uphill climb.
This trail involves some climbing over boulders and slick rocks along with changing landscape from trees to smaller trees to no trees. In other words we climbed up above the tree line.
On and on we went with Glenda getting more and more hesitate about continuing. My wife is very strong and doesn't like to hold others back so she continued with the hike until we got to the last 5-10 minutes from the top. She was done. Glenda decided the peak for her was not necessary. I must say that we were ALL beginning to feel some of that too. Glenda found a place out of the wind and waited for the three of us to make to the summit, get some nourishment and return.
Some views from the top
We found the geological marker at the top and gave it a good rub for good luck along with a great selfie.
I wish Glenda could have experienced the views but I also understand her feelings at that point where she decided to head back. I'm so happy and proud of her for going well beyond her comfort level in hiking. She still got some wonderful views above the tree line and stretched herself amazingly.
Now the hike back down. We all had our issues with our legs and knees as we descended the peak. Tired and aching we persevered the jolts from the downward terrain. Finally after what seemed forever we made it back to the trailhead and followed the one mile road back to the parking lot.
We got into the truck and it was very quiet at first....four exhausted hikers feeling accomplished and ready for some food. Our next stop was the Sunset Grille and Taproom. Rustic motif, nice wait staff and very good food. Debbie had a steak to celebrate. They even brought it out on a hot stone so she could cook it to her exact doneness. One tough hiker.
We may not have been able to hike all the peaks in those states but we sure had a great time trying. Sharing experiences like these with friends is so rewarding and exactly what our lifestyle is all about.
So much more to post about as we traveled through NH, VT and NY. That will have to wait.
Thanks for following along.