Camping in the White Mountains & Hiking Mount Washington

Updated: Mar 8, 2018

Once we came back from our Northern California RV Road Trip we knew we would have big shoes to fill. To be honest, I started having withdrawals as soon as we got home. Yes it was nice to shower in my own shower and be able to open my refrigerator door for more than 5 seconds at a time but I still missed being in the outdoors. Luckily, we already had plans to hike Mount Washington with our friends.

This was mine and Al's first time hiking in the White Mountains so we were pretty pumped! What's a better first hike than Mt. Washington? We all arrived at our campsite pretty late the night before so we set up our tents and tried to get as much rest as we could before the big hike.

Trailhead at Tuckerman Ravine

Hiking Mount Washington

You never know what you're getting yourself into when hiking Mount Washington (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas). The weather can take a turn for the worst and get foggy and windy putting you in the middle of danger. Put it this way, in 1934 they recorded a wind speed of 231 miles per hour on the summit! That's crazy! But we were as prepared as we could be. We got to the trailhead at Tuckerman's Ravine nice and early and started the trek. A majority of the hike was above the treeline which makes it more understandable on how wind and fog can be an issue. We experienced some of it ourselves!

Good thing they have rock cairns all along the trail because, otherwise, we would have lost the trail. Luckily the fog was the worst weather we were going to get all day (besides a super quick rain storm) so I'll take it! Hiking Mt. Washington is definitely a killer as we gained over 3,000 feet in elevation and we were starting to feel it. As we were coming closer to the end we had a beautiful lookout where we were able to watch fog come and go within seconds.

Then the final stretch! Not only were we already feeling the physicality of the hike but then we had to climb a rock pile to the summit. I remember a dog running past me which made me wish I had 4 legs in that moment. But we made it!

I have the say, the strangest thing is hiking over that pile of rocks to a parking lot and road to the summit. When you reach the summit there's always a bit of celebration for making it after all that hard work. But here, you kinda pause for a moment in confusion while watching people getting out of their cars. But it's all good! As long as they gave us the opportunity to take this awesome picture. :)

Mount Washington Summit

It was the first time I did a hike where there was a visitors center on the summit. It was a strange feeling but also a pretty great one. We were able to go inside, use normal bathrooms, grab some lunch, and just relax. It did kinda feel like we were cheating but hey we deserved it ;). We tried to not stay there too long since we wanted to make sure we had enough time to finish the hike.

Then came the descent which is always the longest part of the hike. We took a different trail down, Lions Head, which offered amazing views! The fog cleared up and we were able to absorb the beautiful mountains that surrounded us. I remember our feet and knees killing us at this point. Between all the rocks we had to climb up and then now taking the impact on the way down. Usually going down is much easier but this was a little different from how steep the decline was. It was harder on our bodies than normally. We had to take a few snack breaks on the way back to make sure we were staying nourished and giving our bodies a break. Our last stop was literally a mile away from the end and boy did it take a lot for us to pick ourselves back up and keep going. We just wanted to get back to the campsite and relax by the fire with some dinner.

Mount Washington Views

But it was all worth it in the end. We eventually made it back to our cars and on our way to the campsite. As soon as we got back I ran for the showers because I just wanted to get to bed soon. But once I got some food in me I was able to stick around longer and share some fireside chats with the crew.

I definitely got a much better night of sleep since I was so exhausted. Waking up the morning after a long hike is different than your typical morning. You're well rested enough to realize what you just accomplished and start reminiscing on the adventure. You feel full of smiles and already start thinking about what your next adventure is going to be. It's even better when you have some campfire breakfast waiting for you too :).

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to finally venture in the White Mountains and, especially, hike Mt. Washington. There's nothing like checking something off your bucketlist with your best friends.

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