Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hiking the Presidential Range

From the online weather forecast of Mount Washington, I knew today would be a perfect day to hike around the family mountain. So, I packed up the Subaru--neglecting Bailey's water bowl--and headed off to New Hampshire.

I call it our family mountain because in the 1880s my great-great grandfather Henry Burt started a newspaper on the top called Among the Clouds. His son took over the newspaper. Then, years later, his son, my grandfather F. Allen Burt, wrote the mountain's history up until the 1960s in a book titled The Story of Mount Washington. That family connection brought about the naming of a ravine after my grands: Burt Ravine.

My brothers and I worked on the mountain's Cog Railway in the 1960s and 1970s. I don't think they named much of anything after us... though, in our own ways, we left a mark. (Picture 30+ teenagers and twenty-somethings in a large dormitory at the bottom of the mountain with minimal if any supervision. Yup--exactly.)

Along the way I stopped in Gorham, NH to buy a water bowl for Bailey. I went into a "thrift shop" to look for a cheap bowl. The guy I followed in wore a pistol strapped to his hip--he was not a policeman. The man behind the counter wore a gun, too. In fact, the place had a lot of gun equipment.

Wouldn't you know, the only bowl I found was white china with hand-painted flowers. A steal at $3. I  stood next to the two holstered men and purchased my pretty bowl. The guy must have felt bad for me because he said, "Just a buck--we're having a sale." I probably should have bought a shooting target or a beer mug.

A few minutes later we drove up the 8-mile Mount Washington Auto Road and parked at the top. After a quick tour of the summit, we trekked across a small portion of the Presidentials.

The first mile is tricky, steep rock. Bailey weathered it well. Near the top of Tuckerman's Ravine, Bailey TUCKERMAN Kent and I had lunch and welcomed a few hikers with wagging tails and the old nose through-the-crotch greeting that is Bailey's trademark (I'm convinced he's just trying to get his gentle leader off).

The hike back up to the top of the mountain was uneventful. I'm sure there won't be a warmer day on the summit for the rest of the year. We both enjoyed traversing the mountain, chatting with the hikers along the trail, and in a small way, reconnecting with family.  
Lake of the Clouds

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