Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More on the White Mountains, August 8-9

Monday was still drizzly and cloudy so Joel and I drove up on highway 110 towards the northern section of the White Mountains.  We discovered a two delightful day use areas.

The first was a Jericho Mt. State Park, a day use area with a nice beach setting on Echo Lake.  Its also a very popular ATV area on the weekends.

Next, we drove to the White Mountains South Pond Day Use area.  Its a Forest Service Day use area set on South Pond several miles from the main road.  We met the campground hosts who were on their third season of working at the day use area.  They spend the winters in Arizona and were complaining that it was costing them too much in gas money to return to New Hampshire every summer.  I think everyone is feeling the increase in gas costs. It sure was a pretty place to be a host.

The weather forecast for Tuesday was pretty good so we set our sites on going up to Mt Washington early in the morning.

Tuesday, we woke up to almost clear skies and could even see the top of Mt. Washington. It is the farthest mountain  at the left of the picture.  Its the grey area that looks like clouds.

We drove the short distance to the toll road and were first in line at the toll gate at 7:15.  The road opens at 7:30 and we were the first ones up the road.  The toll road costs are even more than Mt. Mansfield, totalling almost $49.00 for four of us.  A little pricey, but its something I've always wanted to do.   The road itself is good.  It's a two lane, steep,  winding, cliff hanger road, but it wasn't the worst I have ever been on.   Ebbetts Pass (highway 4) in California is much worse and narrower.

The weather was good...for Mt. Washington.   Apparently, it had rained most of Monday, so it was a good thing we didn't try and drive on Monday.  We would have been rained out.

The views from the top were spectacular.  The clouds came in and moved around.

We scurried to the top to get pictures before clouds could move in.

The picture below shows the cog rail tracks and the road.  Note the cloud moving in.
We didn't have to climb very far to reach the summit.  You can see the sign on the left.
This is part of the observation tower and all of the weather equipment.

The Tip Top House used to be a lodge on top of the mountain.  In the early 1900's there were over 200 buildings on the top of the mountain. Earlier times brought horse drawn carriages full of tourists and later cars worked their way up the mountain.

These were the bunks for the tourists in earlier times.
They slept on moss with blankets.  Doesn't look too comfortable to me.
It was a really clear day without much wind....

but subject to change within minutes.  Note the same tower is now in the clouds.

Although we took the road up which took about 45 minutes, you can also ride the train which takes about 1 1/2 hours.  It comes from the other side of the mountain.  If you look closely you can see the smoke from the train at the far bottom left of the picture just starting to crest the hill.
It took quite a while for the train to make it over the top of the hill. I think it backed down and then got a better running start. It brought back memories of the childhood story "The Little Train that Could".. I Think I can, I think I can".

 The first train of the day is coal powered and then the other are diesel powered.
Once the train gets to the top it's pretty easy going.  You can see the road running adjacent to the tracks.
The engine pushes the car up the mountain on the cog track.
Once it got to the top, the engineer let all of the steam and pressure out of the engine.
Below is the old stage office. The chains are to hold the roof down due to high winds.  I don't think Maynard would do much good if some really high winds came along :)
Wild Cat ski resort is one of the views of the mountain, which is right across the road from the gate to the toll road.

Our drive down the mountain was uneventful but  we met a lot of traffic on the way down.  When we got to the toll gate there was a line of cars all the way out to the highway.  The old saying "the early bird gets the worm" really applies in this area if you want to beat the crowds!

We headed back to Gorham, raised the jacks, hooked the car up and were on our way again to Maine...finally.  We only have about 150 miles to our next stop, Bangor, Maine, but it will probably take us two days.  Joel, did a quick calculation a while back and it seems we average only about 75 miles a day.

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