The zoo has arrived!

Summit in Summer Conditions

Last Saturday, Jamie and I [Brett] were back on the hill! The weather was great, 80’s at the visitor center and low 50’s at the summit. If anything, it was TOO HOT! Jamie left the visitor center, with minimal gear and regular hiking boots, around 7:30am with 6 of the 8 expected climbers. I wandered aimlessly around the Visitor’s Center until 8:15am looking for the two climbers that had yet to arrive. Upon no avail and contemplating whether or not to purchase some shorts in the Visitor’s Center [I didn’t, although I wish I had], I started up the trail to catch up with the group.

Within the 45 minutes between the time Jamie and crew departed the Visitor’s Center and the time I followed at least 300 people were swarming the parking lot, fields, and buildings. I noticed that many of them were speaking french, which isn’t uncommon since many Canadian climbers come to the states to climb Mt. Washington. It was a little peculiar because approximately 90% of the people on the trail were Canadian and there were A LOT more people that past weekends with similar weather forecasts. Soon after we broke tree line, I realized that the following Monday was a canadian holiday; they had a three-day weekend and with the fantastic weather forecast it was a perfect excuse for them to visit the states! Ah-ha!

At Lion's Head

Jamie and 4 climbers summited around 12:30am. Congrats guys! At the summit, they encountered the zoo. The Adam’s summit building and the auto road had opened for the first weekend of the year and the cog railway was in full operation. This always brings huge numbers to the summit. They were greeted by a hundred people or so as they attempted to tag the summit sign and get a celebratory picture. Their persistence, determination and effort was rewarded by being cut in line for pictures by hot dog scarfing tourists who drove or rode to the summit in the railway. WOOHOO! This doesn’t diminish the accomplishment but puts a slight stain on the memory.

I climbed to Lion’s Head, where I turned around with 1 climber and pointed out the trail and the potential hazards to the other so that he could proceed to the summit. He is an avid geo cacher, has plenty of hiking experience and had all the way points in his gps. With the great weather forecast and amount of people on the trail, I felt compelled to send him alone. We made a plan so that when he met up with Jamie and the others on their descent, he would take their radio so that we could remain in contact as he pushed to the summit and down. This worked out to perfection. Dave summited around 2pm and radioed in every time he reached a prominent landmark. Thanks for being diligent with your communication Dave! It made our [his wife and my] stress levels minimal.

Since Judy and I were down before the rest, we hopped in my car and drove to the local convenient store to purchase a few six packs so that we could surprise and have an unexpected treats for the others when they returned…they were grateful and man, did that beer taste good! All in all it was a fantastic day and we hope to see you all again [maybe next winter when the temperatures aren’t so hot?]!