Atop Mount Washington

Today I fulfilled a bucket list item and went to the top of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. It’s a fabled location, and it lived up to its billing.

You can get to the top of Mount Washington four ways: hike, take a chauffeured van, ride the cog railway, or drive your own car. We briefly considered the cog railroad, but it would have cost more than $100 for the two of us — so we drove our car up to the peak on the Mount Washington Auto Road.

What a trip! 12 percent average grade, two-lane, sharply winding road, no guard rail or even berm, and sheer drops down hundreds of feet if you blunder. I kept it in first gear and white-knuckled it all the way up and down. My teeth were clenched and my heart was hammering. This drive made the Amalfi Coast route seem like a picnic. It was a real rush.

Mount Washington is known for its freakish weather — the highest wind velocity ever recorded, more than 230 m.p.h., was measured there — and we experienced that, too. In the eight-mile drive from bottom to more than 6,000 feet up we went from sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s to pea soup fog, rain, wind, and temperatures around 50 that seemed much colder at the summit. It felt like we were in a cloud, and we probably were.

Kish and I noted that not many things really have the “wow!” factor these days. A drive up Mount Washington does. If you like to drive and want to test your nerve, this trip is a must.


At The Tamworth Cemetery

Yesterday we walked from our bed and breakfast for about a mile down a wooded country road to the center of Tamworth, New Hampshire. On our little journey we explored a pretty and peaceful roadside cemetery.

The cemetery includes graves of Revolutionary War veterans. People still tend the graves of those long-dead men, and mark the graves with a flag and emblem that attests to their service in the first war of a new nation. It’s gratifying to see that their sacrifice is still acknowledged.

Across the street is a memorial you probably could only find in the Granite State: a white marble obelisk erected atop a massive granite boulder. I walked up to the top — how could I resist? — and learned that the obelisk commemorated the career of a War of Independence veteran who went on to become a minister. That backstory fit that peaceful spot perfectly.