oh myDwight Peck's personal Web site

Mr Peck goes to [Mt] Washington [again]


Summer hols have come along again, Thanks Bog. If our friends in Boston, in these boom years of the greatest US economic expansion the world has ever seen, still refuse to come to visit us in Europe, well then, we'll have to go to Boston.

Once in Boston . . . what? Films, friends, pubs, museums, etc., and very relaxing barbecues in Framingham, and then . . . what?

It's off to the White Mountains again, to hike our little butts off, and after that --

THE MOOSA TOUR

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

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In mid-July 2001, safely ensconced once again in the second building of their favorite B+B in Jackson, New Hampshire, USA, the Crowe's Nest, Mr Peck and Prof Berman come back from Jackson's Wildcat Inn earlier than usual and prepare to get serious on the morrow.

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Sir Charles, proceeding at a brisk pace up the Ammonoosuc waterfall trail, seems pleased to have forgotten all about the excesses at the Wildcat Inn and Trent Lott.

Mr Peck, tagging along with determination, insists that he can live with the horrible excesses at the Wildcat Inn, but not with anything like Trent Lott. That said, there's nowhere to go but up.

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Prof Berman exults in waterfalls and, at the top of the hour, dials in the BBC for more news about Trent Lott and Dick "Mr. Fun" Armey on his little shortwave.

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The Ammonoosuc Trail, up the waterfalls from the cograil train station on the west side of Mt. Washington, is one of the most beautiful hikes in New Hampshire's Presidential Range. From the rail station at 792 meters, it proceeds (like all Mt Washington trails) up very steep rocky forest, and then along an active waterfall to the Lake of the Clouds hut at 1540 meters. Thence, if you are so in the mood to, you can carry on above tree-line to the summit of Mt Washington at 1917 meters.

Ever up

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This scenic little Environmental Horror has been plying its trade up the west side of Mt Washington since the 1890s, and evidently no one in New Hampshire has yet thought to put some sort of muzzle on that smokestack. Wherever you may be on the massif of the Presidential Range, when this baby gets the steam up, you can orient yourself by the dense black plume in the sky.

See for yourself!

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All aboard! Find your places,  please! Gas masks on, everyone!

Unbelievers may click here and view the full sooty horrors.

But at the same time, it's lots of fun -- tourists get to pay down a big packet of money to chug painfully slowly up the cog-track, get out, enter the gift shop and restaurant at the top, purchase an "I survived Mt Washington" brandy snifter and choke down a couple of chili dogs in the meagre 20 minutes allotted to them, and then chug back down praying that the wind doesn't blow that smoke plume back into the rail car. And the rest of us can always use the whistle and smoke plume to figure out which way is north.

Train descending, with two of the nearby mountains of the Presidential Range -- Mt Jefferson and Mt Sam Adams -- stretching off northwards.

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Descending again, down the same way, former librarian Peck pauses above the Lake of the Clouds hut. That's not the Lake of the Clouds there in the photo, that's some other water thing.

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THIS is the Lake of the Clouds. But no clouds this time (there certainly were clouds here in 1998).

Next comes the Huntington Ravine trail -- almost killed us in '98, let's see if it goes any better this time. We're not getting any younger, but we're still psyching up for the MOOSA TOUR.


Since history seems to repeat itself as farce, there's no way round it (literally and figuratively), we're bound once again for the Huntington Ravine Trail up Mt Washington. Right up the center there.

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At 90 fahrenheit [32.222C], with 19-year-old skinhead lads collapsing all over the rocky slabs, and a brace of somewhat older gentlemen dreaming about retirement a few years on and thinking through their slender pension options whilst negotiating all those bloody big rocks nonetheless very happily.

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Come round any rocky corner, and there is Mr. Berman, smiling, waiting patiently.

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Profs Peck and Berman breathe deeply whilst a pair of French Canadian tourists obligingly snap a photo at the foot of the biggish granite slabs.

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As more than once before, Mr Peck begins to whine and bitch at this same little bit of the Huntington Ravine headwall. Better than 1998, anyway, when he was insufferable.

[And much much better than his first time here, in driving rain in 1989, when Sherman Wilson had to drag him up this part by the collar of his anorak, his heels banging uselessly on the rock. Reading the climbers' guide afterward, the words "never attempt this route in bad weather" stood out belatedly.]

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Surely there's no need to hurry this. In fact, a little nap might be a good thing. In fact, a little nap is always a good thing. For about a week.

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Sort of near the top of the Huntington headwall at this point. Arteries long unused through a grim winter are opening up again to full capacity, or full diminished capacity, and many many different religions are passing through one's head all vying for equal attention. But, frankly, at this point there's no real way to distinguish between them. Possibly there never is.

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Prof. Berman, once again, surmounts everything within his purview.

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We're over the Huntington Ravine headwall at this point, but with a nice long trudge up to Mt Washington still in prospect.

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Give me lots of food, and don't try to cheer me up!!

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Atop Mt Washington, Former Humanities Department Chairperson Berman soothes his piggies next to a water fountain which is marked "WATER" prominently.

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In front of Tip-Top House, not the one in Las Vegas, the other one, on top of Mount Washington, former cement worker Peck can only think of the MOOSA TOUR.

Sir Charles ready to stumble down the Tuckerman Ravine at the end of the day

Descent by the lovely Tuckerman Ravine. The MOOSA TOUR is next.


There is no law to the effect that you have to continue, but if you want to, it's okay (Go to file 2.)


Summer 2001

Mt Washington, USA, by Ammonoosuc and Huntington Ravine trails

The MOOSA tour, Maine to Québec

Barbecue in Framingham, cycling to Rockport

Visit to Alison at the Effelsberg radio telescope in Germany

Visits by Marlowe and Alison to the Jura, September-October


More Mt Washington

1998

2000

2001


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 30 November 2001, revised 7 July 2008, 1 September 2014.


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