Finding hiking shoes has been a challenge 1. They are pricey 2. I am huge on comfort 3. Zero time to hunt. I've been looking for hiking boots for the past year! I kid you not, I am so particular when it comes to shoes. But I found a pair at EMS that I enjoy.
I know I was doing something stupid, buying hiking boots and smart wool trek socks a few days before the big hike, but I am glad I was not the only one there buying boots to hike Mt. Washington as I am sure we would have gotten the third degree much worse shopping on our own. There is something to be said for Stupidity in the masses...
I learned a few hitch ties while there and received some motivation by listening to a high school girl say she was traveling to Africa with a group to hike for the first time - Mt. Kilimanjaro - are you kidding me? & I had thought hiking Mt. Washington in new boots for the first time was stupid.
We stayed 20 mins from the mtn at a camp site. The campsite was sub par - was expecting more of a Saco river scene and found ourselves at a family RV park. It was clean and safe which are really the only qualifications needed. Joe made a fire in two minutes and we took 50 cent showers. I hate pay to shower tent sites, always makes me nervous that I won't have enough quarters to shower!
We immediately fell asleep that first night, waking up to enjoy a home cooked meal at the Waterwheel restaurant - amazing breakfast spot!!! On the way there, we stopped at a spring to fill up water and saw a moose! I haven't seen a moose since I was a child living in Rangely, Maine. I was pretty excited to start our hiking day with that site!
We started hiking wayy too fast. We took lion's head to the top and Tuckerman's down. A woman at the top said they only get 10 days like this a year visibility wise. We lucked out! I was exhausted once we got to the top. Like, ready to crawl on hands and knees exhausted. Fainting was definitely a possibility. That last 20 mins was brutal.
At the top, there is a parking lot for the auto road and a track for the cog trains. There is a cafeteria, bathrooms, water stops , and not one, not two, but three souvenir shops! I was amazed. I was not expecting the chaos.
When I reached the top, I just wanted take a picture next to the summit sign, sit, eat, zone out. Too bad everyone else needed to take pictures next to the sign as well (cog and auto riders amidst the hikers).
Hah I can only guess at the state and look of the tired, frustrated, Helen when faced with the inability to take a photo after hiking for three hrs. I must have been staring in disgust at the families who had driven up, and were now clambering up the little rock pile to get their photos. Unfortunately and selfishly, I could not appreciate their efforts at all.
Joe and I finally got our pictures, then went to sit and eat. We sat in the AC for a hr, each got snickers and a Gatorade, refilled water bottles, and ate our packed sandwiches. We also went to souvenir shops and bought two coozies, a sweatshirt and a Tshirt.
I had already packed too much, packed pants, sweatshirt, long sleeve, Tshirt, shorts, socks, bra, panties - for the hike. Psychotic I know. But everyone said the mtn has the most unexpected weather - I wasn't going to be caught cold/wet for hrs! On the way down I was struggling as well. The last mile should have only taken half an hr? Took me an hr, much to Joe's annoyance. It was brutal, and so many people were hiking the mtn, it was like a line of ants heading up Tuckerman's. We ran a bit of the last two miles which was surprisingly easier for footing.
I am happy that I can finally say I hiked Mt. Washington and cannot wait to hike another challenging mtn. in the near future.
Btw? No blisters :)