Sunday, September 18, 2011

variables in my new plan a

so i have a very flexible new plan a. swayze and i have been in gorham, nh for the last week waiting for her feet to heal up, relaxing, and gearing up for some damned cold weather. we were planning on hiking a few days ago, but i used that day to walk into town and sort of shop for cold weather gear and whatnot. i swear my clothes bag almost weighs as much as my food bag!

anyways, as i was walking into town that day, a friend that i'd met up here adn the owner of the campground i've been staying at drove by me and pulled over on the side of the road. they said they were going to drive up to mt. washington and wanted to know if i wannted to tag along. eager to scope out the territory that i will soon be hiking, i hopped in the backseat and off we went. however, when we got to the base of the mountain, the park employees informed us that the mountain was closed on top because of inclement weather conditions but that we could still drive halfway up.

the guy who was driving has an altimeter in his car that came out of an old airplane. mt. washington's peak sits at 6,288 feet, the second highest on the entire AT. i've already climbed the highest peak of the AT, so mt. washington should be no big deal, right? wrong. mt. washington boasts that it is the home of the world's worst weather. back in the 1930s, a wind speed of 231 mph was recorded atop mt. washington and held the world record until recently. so by the time we got to roughly 4,200' the other day, the temp was 37 degrees and a ~40 mph wind was hurling snowflakes through the air. i also got the first taste of what rime ice is. google it if you don't know what it is... it's rreally pretty, but i do plan on hiking today so i don't have time to fully explain it. we parked the car in a small parking lot when we got as high as we could and got out of the car. bob forewarned me to hold onto the car door while i opened it because the winds wrre so strong. we lasted maybe five minutes out in that weather. i tried to get my picture taken in the first snow that i've experienced on the AT, but i couldn't hold my eyes open long enough because the snow stung so badly. i lost my balance a few times trying to navigate the few rocks that were on the ground while dealing withthe wind. i've never had to lean into the wind to remain upright. it was quite intimidating.

which i suppose is why i've stayed so long in gorham... it was completely FUN being out in that kind of weather knowing there was the safety and comfort of a car available. but the idea of hikig in those kind of winds scares me. hiking mt. washington will mean i will be above treeline for miles and miles... hours of exposed, windy hiking. i have been checking the weather on mt. washington's website continually since our little escapade and the wind chill hasn't risen above freezing.

if y'all can do anything right now, please pray for an indian summer for new hampshire. i am super worried about having to hike in these conditions. i'm gon' be prayin' like never before these next 50 miles. just pray for good weather, please. :) love y'all and hope to see y'all soon!!

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