I volunteered to work at the 2014 Mount Washington Road Race this year. I was working at the summit so I decided to go for a downhill hike after I was done. I got to the base of the auto road Saturday morning at 6am and hopped into an auto road van with a bunch of other volunteers and race staff.
Patty was our excellent and very experienced driver. Since the road was still closed and we were the only vehicle on the road between the base and summit she drove pretty fast hitting every turn at its apex, it was almost as exciting as I imagine riding up with Travis Pastrana might be. First I worked parking at the summit with a bunch of great people including the wife of the runner wearing #1 (last year’s winner). We packed the cars into the summit lots like sardines and then we waited for about an hour for the runners to start arriving at the summit.
It was about 30 degrees and clear at first but then the clouds and wind moved in for the rest of my time I was at the summit. It was pretty chilly even with my insulation layer and a storm shell on.
I worked at the finish line and got to watch Joe Gray win. I was routing for the New Englander Eric Blake, but it was nice to see Joe win. He had been so close to winning the past few years and this year he won with a big lead.
I shot this with my cell phone so its a little shaky.
I took my hiking stuff with me so I could hike down after the race. Since I couldn’t count any summits towards peak bagging I decided to clean up a few sections of trails that I needed for my redlining map. I took off down the Crawford Path and dropped below the clouds at about 5500 ft.
I then took the Davis Path down to The Lawn. I needed this little section of trail between Crawford Path and Camel Trail. The Lawn is always a great place for pictures walking along with the Dalek looking Cairns.
The Davis Path from the Camel Trail to Isolation I had done before, but I needed to pick up the section of Glen Boulder between Davis and the Boulder. I turned around at the boulder last time I was on this trail. So I descended that way.
The views into Gulf of Slides from the ridge were great. I ski here every year, and it looks so much different without snow.
I passed quite a few hikers on Glen Boulder trail that were heading towards isolation to bag it for their list. I’m surprised that this has become a popular way to bag Isolation for first timers. The Davis Path between Isolation and Glen Boulder Trail used to be a fairly quiet trail. I remember hiking it back in the 90’s and it being overgrown in spots from little use. I wonder if all the reports of people losing their way on Rocky Branch have made people think that this might be a better alternative? It’s definitely not an easier route.
Back at the boulder I was on familiar trail again.
I descended towards the road until I came to the Direttissima Trail. I needed to redline this too. So I followed it back to Pinkham Notch. The Direttissma was not peaceful due to it being close to the road and it being Bike Week here in New Hampshire, but it had some nice views from crags that were above the road, and it beat walking back on the road. Once at Pinkham I asked around and quickly found a ride back to the Auto Road for my car.
This was the second year in a row I was on Washington for the first day of summer. It wasn’t exactly a conventional hiking trip today but it was a lot of fun and the views were amazing.