|Auto Road and The Cog let you reach for the top|
Choose Which Way to
Challenge Mount Washington!
Mount Washington is very high; it is the tallest peak in America's North East. Hiking, running, biking, driving and even taking a Cog Rail ride up the 6,288 ft slope feels like an act of defying the force of gravity.
Every spring and summer for the last 150 years world travellers have come to the mountain known as Agiocochook (Home of the Great Spirit) to do just that.
The Mountain is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, in Coos County, New Hampshire. Mount Washington is one of the most prominent peaks in the country.
There are many ways to get to the summit, the two most popular are the Cog and the Auto Road, and there are events throughout the late spring and summer to help motivate people to use them to reach for the top.
This is the 150th anniversary of the Auto Road. It is a 7.6-mile long torture test for man and machine. Built in 1861, the toll road climbs 4,618 ft at an average gradient of almost 12%. It starts in Pinkham Notch at the base of Mt Washington and ends at the summit.
The first automobile race in America was held on the road back in 1904 and to this day the racing continues on this treacherous path. Almost every spring and summer weekend there are races be it for runners, cars, motorcycles or bike riders.
Thinking of riding your Harley to New Hampshire? Come by the Mountain and its Auto Road during Bike Week and Ride to the Sky on June 13th and 16th when only motorcycles (and touring sightseeing vans) are allowed on the roadway. www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/events/ride-to-the-sky/
Athletes from around the world run up the Auto Road in the Annual Mount Washington Road Race (this June 18th). http://mountwashingtonroadrace.com. Four days later it is the cars' turn to give it their all. The Climb to the Clouds will be held June 22- 26.
It is because of the steep grade, the unpredictable winds and the four climate zones that bicycle riders must peddle through that make the road the most challenging course in North America. Newton's Revenge is an aptly named annual bike race up the summit, this year it will run on July 9th. www.newtonsrevenge.com.
The biggest bike race is the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. 600 riders will compete this year on Aug 20. www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com.
There is another way to get to the top that doesn't involve muscle, sweat and overheated radiators. The Cog is an historic train that travels on such a steep track it was once described as a "railway to the Moon".
Built in 1869 it is one of the world's great railway adventures. The track runs up a three mile-long trestle with a maximum gradient of over 37%, making it the second-steepest mountain climbing train in the world and the only one entirely built on a trestle.
The round trip takes three hours and includes a visit to the Mount Washington Observatory Center and Museum. www.thecog.com/
By Stephen Weir
Maple Gazette, Spring Issue