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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gettysburg…Friends from the past!


One of the last things we did in Gettysburg was to meet Cliff and
Cliff and JoBeth with the Presidential
Mountains in background!

JoBeth Carr. They were to tour the northern New England states including New Hampshire. We offered them a place to park their truck camper, if they were in our neck of the woods. We had exchanged email addresses and phone numbers. Time passed on as we were home for about a week when Helen and I were talking about our Gettysburg's gateway adventure and the subject came up about Cliff and JoBeth. We
Looking North to Canada with
the Cog Railway Train coming to the top.
knew that they were visiting upper New York and Vermont. It wasn't long after an email was sent to them, a response came back that they were about 50 miles from us in St Johnsbury, Vermont. They took us up on our invitation for a visit. Their timing couldn't have been better for weather and nearly full color in the leaf foliage department. 
They rolled into Berlin a little after noon. Helen had prepared  lunch and we got better acquainted. After all we only talked for a
At the Summit!
short time around the community campfire at the Gettysburg Campground. This is another example of how friendly truck camping people can be.
The sun was bright, warm, the leaves were stunning in their reds, orange and yellows. We surely couldn't spend the afternoon inside talking with mother nature begging us to visit her majesty. I called the Mt Washington Auto road to see how the auto road conditions were up on Mt Washington. The lady said, “temperature at the
The Observatory and observation deck
summit was 44 degrees with a 3 to 8 mph wind. Visibility 100 miles.” As perfect as it gets on Mt Washington. Remember, this mountain is noted for recording the worlds highest wind speed of 230 miles per hour. Just last Tuesday, the auto road was closed for having 6 inches of rime ice at the summit.
We all piled into the Lexus and headed south towards Mt Washington. The temperature here in the valley was close to 70 degrees. We shared stories of our adventures and they in turn gave us insight into their home town of Miami, Florida. I stand corrected Miami is no town, but a large city.
Turning off the main highway into the auto road, we could see that we weren't the only ones who had the idea of climbing the highest mountain in the northeast. It wasn't too long a wait until we got to the ticket agent. I had a rain check from a previous visit back in 2011. I was wondering if they would honor it and of course they did…they are great people at the Mt Washington Stage and Auto Road company!
The ride up first starts up through a hardwood forest with a variety of trees. The diversity of  leaf colors with a few
Chug, Chug to the summit!
conifers of green is just a splendid view. We couldn't really stop at the turnoffs because others had already taken up all of the parking spots. I knew, on the way down we would have a better chance to get those unforgettable photos of the (red berry) mountain ash trees along with everything else. The road on the lower elevation is comfortably wide enough for meeting cars. This changes as you start to get above the tree line. The remaining trees are now only two to three feet high, but make up in age as they are two to three hundred years old. The road now
Four Truck Campers at the TOP!
has many switch backs and is narrow. When we met an oncoming vehicles, there was this feeling that our mirrors would click as we passed each other. No one wants to give an inch because it’s either a two to three thousand foot drop-off on one side, or a two foot deep ditch with a rocky ledge outcrop that would do a number on the side of your car. I could feel our newly found friends a little more quiet, along with Helen, as we slowly snaked up to the over 6,000 foot mark.
Ah! At last the summit! A parking attendant directed us to a full parking lot, but luckily we grabbed the only empty spot close to the exit. Our ears had popped a couple of times and we actually could feel a
Eye Level with the clouds!
difference in breathing as we got out of the car and started to walk up to the “Tip Top House”. The temperature wasn't bad at all...a balmy 54 degrees. The Tip Top House was an old hotel for guests who visited back in the eighteen hundreds. It has been restored, as it was back then. It certainly was not a five star hotel by today's  standards, but I’ll bet it was a lot better than trying to use a tent for over night accommodations! The beds were stacked much like book shelves with a little sphagnum moss for a mattress. Four bunks from floor to ceiling, with a sheet
Cliff and JoBeth at Glen Ellis Falls!
hanging vertically for privacy. After watching a short video on the atrocious weather at the top, we headed outside and waited in line for a few minutes to take a group picture at the sign indicating the summit's highest level of land in New England.
Our next stop was the roof of the Visitor Center with its panoramic views. To the north, we could see Canada, East was Maine and nearly visible Atlantic Ocean one hundred miles away... to the south, New Hampshire and some of Massachusetts. The western view was of Vermont and the white cliffs of upper New York State. The curvature of the earth was also visible. It was neat to be at the same elevation as a few clouds to the north west. A quick run into the Visitor Center and museum was our last stop before heading down the mountain in low gear.
Going down slowly in first and second gear, we were able stop here and there for those promised photos. The traffic had dissipated and it was more relaxing to drive. I was also surprised that my brakes smelled even with the slow pace coming down. In the end, we safely made it to the main highway without incidents.
It was now a quarter to five in the afternoon and twilight would soon catch us. I had a few more mountain views to show Cliff and JoBeth. We would only have time for one last mini adventure. About two and a half miles south on route 16, Glen Ellis falls was our destination. This required a few minutes walk down a well travel path along the Ellis river. This is usually a perfect spot to shoot pictures, but the sun was already setting behind Mt Washington. This is not to say it isn't a spectacular seventy-five foot high water fall, but I've been there when the sun just shimmers across the cascading falls. We hiked down to the bottom of the ravine using the switchback trail with it’s well guarding handrails. The pictures we took there actually came in better then expected because of the lower light conditions. The camera compensated and the water blurred into a bridal vale type of picture.
Visit the link below to view more on Mt Washington's deadly fatal attraction!
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