summer 2016

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

this car climbed Mt. Washington

Along the highway in Ontario

What a weekend we had.  It was a 4 day trip to Ontario to our nephew's wedding.  It was sunny, hot and humid with heavy downpours and thunderstorms.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful.  We had planned to drive to Niagara Falls on Sunday but the traffic all weekend was crazy there so we decided to head back home via Quebec and Vermont and do something special in New Hampshire.  We definitely need to take a holiday in Ontario some day.  There is so much to see and do.

Ontario traffic on a holiday weekend.
We just aren't used to this and decided to avoid it and head out.

We drove east and crossed the border at Stanstead, Quebec into Vermont and on to New Hampshire where we stayed overnight in Gorham.  The next morning we got up early and went to 'Micky D's' for breakfast before driving to Mt. Washington.  We arrived there about 8:00 am and it was sunny, clear and already getting hot.  When you start up the mountain you drive through forest with the odd peek through the trees to the mountains and the drop off down to the valley below.  Soon the trees start thinning out until there are none.  The road is wide enough for 2 vehicles to meet and pass.....very carefully.  On the mountain side there is a deep ditch that isn't wide and has sharp rocks so if you go off you could really damage your tires or car.  On the other side there is NO guard rail so one wrong move and you go off into eternity or to a hospital with serious injuries.  This drive is not for the faint of heart (that would be me).....and I was terrified so sat in the backseat with my head down, eyes closed and praying we'd make it up and down safely!!  I did get out at the rest stops....which were necessary to cool the car's engine and brakes....and didn't mind that as they were wide parking areas.  It was the drop offs that are in the photos that I didn't look at.  Have you done this drive before?  What did you think?  We drove it on our honeymoon in August 1977 - 38 years ago.  There is a photo at the end of the post of the mountain that day.  I wrote on the back of it that it was cloudy, foggy and raining at the top and we didn't see a thing!  I guess the fog on the way up helped mask the views.  Enjoy the photos.

Mt. Washington Auto Road is in it's 154th season as America's first and oldest man-made attraction.  

Yep!  that is the edge.  One has to drive on the right side of the yellow line but I see Murray wasn't at this spot.  Oh.  By the way.  Mark, our son, was in the front passenger seat and took all the photos along the road as I couldn't even look!

By the time we got to the top (it's only 7 miles but we stopped several times and the going is slow in a lower gear) the clouds had blown in and the wind was incredibly strong.

This is Murray helping me up the stairs from the parking lot to the top where the interpretation centre is.  That isn't fog.  It's clouds.  And the wind was so strong I could barely walk.  Also, I couldn't breathe due to the altitude.  After about 15 minutes inside the sun came out and the clouds left so we went outside.

This is the view from the windows inside the centre.  The line across the ground is the cog railroad.  There is a train that travels up the mountain and brings visitors to the top.  I think that would be scarier than in a car but people have been doing it since the late 1800's!

The terrain is very rocky with mosses and wildflowers that survive the harsh climate.  

Murray was hanging on to me as I could barely stand up against the wind at the peak.  We were laughing so hard and my hair was being whipped about.  What a hoot!

The Cog Railroad is in the foreground.

Coming back down the mountain.  I still had my eyes closed.

Mark and Jenn

This was about halfway down the mountain.  It was so much warmer and less windy here.

A car traveling up the mountain.

Since our car was a rental we didn't put the sticker on it.  :-)  We asked a man to take our photo at the bottom of the mountain.  I was very relieved to arrive safely.

Here is the photo taken on our honeymoon from the base of Mt. Washington.

And here is more proof that we drove up the mountain on that day - August 10 - 38 years ago.  :-)  Yes, we still have the certificate!  We don't always throw everything out you know.   LOL

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  I don't expect I'll do that drive again knowing what I know now when there is no fog or clouds to obscure the views.  Ha!  

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you are having a good week and enjoying the summer.  Can you believe it's August already??



  1. The view is certainly fantastic at the top even if was tricky getting there! Gorgeous photos! I'm glad the clouds moved out for you!

  2. Oh good grief! You are a brave woman. I would be out of that car and walking. No way would I be riding in a car that is that close to the edge. We did that once in Colorado and once in northern England and I nearly died of fright both times. Neither time would my husband let me out of the car. Never ever again. EVER!

    All that said, I love your photos. Amazing views, but I would give it up to feel safe on level ground. LOL

  3. what a neat (and terrifying) experience! and you've gotten to do it twice. :)

  4. Oh my goodness. That's a drive I would rather be in the driver's seat for. I hate being on the edge like that! Glad you had a good time and that the wind didn't blow you over!

  5. Oh I wish we could have been up there with you - it's years since we did the drive, must have been in the early 70's when we were still living in NH.

    Great pix by Mark, do thank him Pamela - the wind and clouds certainly must have made it somewhat scary - so glad Murray held on tightly to you!

    Hugs - Mary

  6. Hello Pam, I enjoyed your photos so much. They reminded me of when my husband drove us up Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks of New York. It was 1965 and we were on our honeymoon. I was so scared!!!! I will never be taking that ride up the mountain again. I did take the chairlift a few years ago. That was somewhat better!? I know Mount Washington is higher ....and scarier. But I must say...your pictures are fabulous. I'm glad you had a good trip. I love it when you take us along on your wonderful trips!

  7. we have been there & enjoyed our visit. i love that you have an old shot to look back on. we had fog that day we visited but it was rolling out. so cold. trying to think what year it was we were there? i loved seeing the mini trees at the top of the mtn. very cool. i do remember the struggle to breathe as well. it was rough. i was thinking gosh am i really that old or what? hope you are doing well. have a good day!!! ( :

  8. What a brave soul you are! I know I wouldn't have made that climb!
    Yes the roads were very hectic this past long weekend!

  9. Tip: Never buy a used car that says "This car climbed Mt. Washington." LOL! What a trip! I will be linking to this some fine day in September. ;>

  10. I don't blame you for closing your eyes. :-) Great pictures!

  11. I have been up there from time to time, including hiking up to the top. It can be a ferocious place at times.

  12. Can you imagine hiking the Appalachian Trail from here? I know it's an inhospitable place with high winds and cloud cover. I used to live in VT but never hiked or drove Mount Washington. Many of our high peaks here in CO that have roads are the same - no guardrails and sheer drop-offs!

  13. I would be torn between fear of heights and missing the show! Yes, the pics are great, and Pamela, do visit Ontario again! You're right. There is SO much to see/do in Ont. but that 401 is nuts at the best of times and worse on holiday week-ends. I don't blame you for getting out of that zoo! Were you close to Elmira or St. Jacobs? (my neck of the woods:)
    Now MT. Washington is on my must-see list!!

  14. Wow what a drive, I'd have my eyes closed too. So glad you made the journey up and down the mountain.

  15. Thank you for taking us with you on this beautiful tour! Although I love the beautiful views, the one most unusual is you both struggling to go up the stairs with the clouds around you!

  16. It looks like "the top" would hold fabulous views and accomplishment . . . but I would be with you, hiding and wishing it was over . . . I will enjoy this through your travels and not plan my own!
    Was the traffic for Canada Day like our July 4 or something else?

  17. You and Murray look so happy and cute, Pamela!
    This looks like a wonderful alternative to Niagara.
    Oh my, it does looks scary to me too! We have a section
    that we travel through when we go to the Yukon that's
    called Steamboat Pass and It the most beautiful place,
    but I can't take any photos because my peeks are so brief
    I'm so petrified!
    I'm glad you're safely home!

  18. Hmm, yes, heavy traffic in the well travelled places of Ontario. Looks like the family had fun making the climb and at least you can say you did it and won't feel the need for a repeat. LOL

  19. Pam, so glad you made it there and back safely. That's a lot of driving for a weekend. AND Mt. Washington to boot! We have never done that climb. My hubby would be sitting in the middle of the back seat with his eyes closed...

  20. Oh you were in Ontario sorry I missed you:) Oh I know that crazy traffic well. On the other hand Mount Washington I have never climbed with a car or on foot. LOVE LOVE your shots especially you climbing up through the clouds. Oh what a beautiful place. I want to go there someday. Next time you are in Ontario say Hi. That is an awful lot of scary driving glad you are back safe. HUG B

  21. What an awesome trip!!! Unreal traffic in Ontario...we're not used to that in our area either! And what gorgeous pics of Mount are much braver than I! Looks pretty scary to me!!
    The best part of going coming home!!

  22. Lovely photos . Oh we down here avoid all that traffic like the plague by taking the back country roads if we need to travel out that way ! thank goodness we don't live near any of that ! I am glad the wedding went well and the weather held for you all ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good weekend ! !

  23. No, I have never driven up to the top of Mount Washington...but I have hiked to the top several times. Oh, but I was much younger than I am now. lol The view from up there is spectacular on a clear day. I always thought driving to the top would be way too much for the cars I was driving at the time. Your car was very brave. ;)

  24. What a trip! Lovely pictures! Always so nice visiting your blog...
    Have a beautiful weekend and take care!


  25. Wonderful photos, Pam! The views are gorgeous and your trip sounds really interesting. The last two images must be heart-warming memories. Thank you for sharing your exciting day with us.
    Have a blessed Sunday!

  26. Oh I love that you did it then, and did it again!! That's so sweet...and what a view. I wonder how many nail biting, steering wheel clenches there are for other tourists? That's quite the climb, and the view is amazing.


  27. Oh I love that you did it then, and did it again!! That's so sweet...and what a view. I wonder how many nail biting, steering wheel clenches there are for other tourists? That's quite the climb, and the view is amazing.


  28. These are fantastic photos, Pamela! I would do that drive in a heartbeat - I love to drive challenging roads like that! I actually prefer to be in the driver's seat. The wind though must have been horrendous - it shows pretty well in that photo of you on the top. Wow! I do think that this "detour" was much better than being stuck in that heavy traffic on the highway.

  29. Hi were very brave! I don't like heights, so.....I would be scared!
    How did you like the traffic here? The QEW is the hwy we take to the cottage...before Niagara Falls, we go straight south, down to Lake Erie....
    I still can't believe you were in my backyard..... :/
    Oh well....perhaps another time!
    Have a great week ahead...
    Linda :o)

  30. What a fun adventure for you! We pretty much missed Mt. Washington when we passed that way two years ago...since it was totally lost in the clouds. We hear it is known for being 'Home of World's Worst Weather'! I got a nice photo of the lovely resort at the base...and that's about it. So glad you took the detour to Mt. Washington...and had a front seat photographer on board!

  31. Hi Pam - I think we almost crossed paths in N.H., as I was there last week visiting family! I have taken that scary mountain road, but the views are spectacular! Good thing you had a photographer on board. Great photos! I get vertigo just thinking about driving along that edge! It's so nice to take the 'back roads' home. xo Karen

  32. What an amazing view from up top - well worth the effort!

  33. Pam I enjoyed readig your account of the drive up Mt. Washington on facebook and I finally had a chance to see it here on your blog. My husband and I and our daughter did this drive about 15 years ago. At first we did not think it was bad and we listened to a tape about the mountain that we were given when we paid the admission to the road. All of a sudden I noticed my husband's face getting pale as we drove higher, and when the road narrowed. It was so scary! We were even more afraid on the ride down! Since then, we've drove up two 14,000 plus foot mountains here in Colorado, but Mt, Washington will always be the scariest ride we ever took!

  34. I loved seeing your photos of Mt. Washington! When I was a child we were visiting family in Connecticut, they had a cabin in the mountains of Vermont and took us to Mt. Washington.
    I loved being in the clouds and remember it to this day. I recall a weather station being at the peak of the Mt. I still have a little stuffed black bear that my parents bought me in the little gift shop at the top of the mountain :)
    Thanks for refreshing the memories ... Sweet that you kept the certificate from the first time you went :)

  35. I'm visiting after Vee mentioned your post, Pam. Your photos are great of a very scary ride up Mt Washington. We did this about 10 years ago. I remember they said the highest wind speed ever has been recorded there! It's amazingly beautiful there, but quite scary going up and down. My grandson loves trains and I love my grandson, but I had to tell him no way was I going on the cog railway! ♥


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