Friday, May 21, 2010

Video of a Trip Up

Thursday was a beautiful day on the mountain. Here's a video that captures just a piece of the experience.

Hope to see you this weekend.

- Ryan

P.S. Now open to motorcycles, too. (Weather permitting, of course.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guided Tours Start This Weekend

The Auto Road is clear. The summit is accessible. And, Guided Tours will start on Saturday.

It's a beautiful thing.

No, really, look. It is!

More images on our Facebook page.

Guided Tours will run Saturday and Sunday, and then take a break midweek. We'll get them rolling daily starting Saturday, May 29.

The Auto Road is in terrific shape. A huge turnaround from last Thursday. Honestly, I have no idea how the Road Crew does it.

See you soon!

- Ryan

Monday, May 17, 2010

Open to the Summit!

Warm weather and hard work by the Road Crew have allowed us to open to the summit. Each season, we hope to open to the summit by Memorial Day weekend, so we're thrilled to be open all the way this early.

No guided tours yet, but you can drive yourself. We open at 8:00am.

I haven't had a chance to make the trip yet, myself, but I hope get some photos later this week. Plus, I can't wait to see the dramatic turnaround from last week!

See you soon.

- Ryan

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Look at Thursday's Trip to the Summit

Here's the video from Thursday's early trip to the summit.

Once again, we still need warm, dry weather to help us get the Road ready to go, but we're getting closer. Enjoy the video.

- Ryan

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Closer

Today, I had an opportunity to get up the mountain and take a look at the progress. And, right now, things are looking good. Odd, but good.

As you know, right now, we are open to Winter Cutoff, which is 4.5 miles up the Auto Road. The road surface to that point is fantastic, and the views around the Horn, from Signal Corps and from Winter Cutoff are stellar. But, it's like a tale of two roads. Once you get through the S Turns and onto the 5 Mile the road conditions change rapidly. The 5 Mile is very muddy. Water isn't flowing steadily, so we've been able to grade in the waterbars. However, it's mushy. If we were to put more than 15 cars on it in a day it would totally deteriorate and become completely impassable. Same goes for Cragway, but it's even worse. It's downright soupy in places.

That being said, warmer, drier weather would do wonders for both these gravel sections. Throw in some wind (shouldn't be a problem on Mt. Washington!), and things could change rapidly. That's the good news.

Be sure to check out the photos from today on our Facebook page.

Want more good news? OK. And, not to bury the lead here, but we will begin daily operations on Saturday. Hours will also extend from 8:00 to 5:00. Jump to our website for details.

But that's not all! (I feel like a late night infomercial.) On my trip up the mountain today, I actually went all the way to the summit. It wasn't pretty but it was doable. Aside from the squishiness of the gravel sections of the Road, I still found plenty of snow and ice across the Road, especially above Cow Pasture. And, right now, the parking lots are completely covered in ice. So, even if the gravel was passable, the ice narrows the Road in too many spots for us to open to the summit. Plus, there's no place to park when you arrive! The Road Crew was working on breaking up the ice on the Road today, and sunny skies will only help. I'll have pics and video posted, probably tomorrow.

So, like I said, we're getting closer. And, really, to be at this point already in mid-May is a bonus. Normally at this time, we're questioning whether or not we can open at all. As always, stay tuned for updates.

- Ryan

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When, when when???

At this time of year, there is one thing on everyone's mind: When will you open to the summit?

Believe me, if we had a definitive answer, we'd give you one. We're just not sure. It keeps snowing! Seriously, more snow fell overnight, and temperatures plummeted. It felt much closer to winter than it did summer. Here's what it looked like from the base this afternoon:

As you can see, buds on the trees but snow on the mountain. Winter is slowly releasing its grip. Very slowly.

All that being said, we're going to remain closed this week, but reopen on the weekend. We will at least be open to Winter Cutoff still, and the views from there have been spectacular. People have been surprised what a great trip even the abbreviated route provides.

When will we reach the summit? Honestly, it could be this weekend. A lot will depend on the weather this week. Right now, next weekend looks more realistic, but, again, no guarantee. Be sure to check our Early Season Operating Notes for all our operational details.

My plan is to head up on Thursday to get more pics and video, so stay tuned for that, too.

- Ryan

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bicknell's Thrush Tours In June!

The Mt. Washington Auto Road announces six guided Bicknell’s Thrush Tours in 2010. These special opportunities will be offered in June and will provide birders the chance to spot the rare Bicknell’s Thrush.

More often heard than seen, Bicknell’s Thrush is an extremely rare species with very limited breeding grounds. In fact, in the northeastern United States, Bicknell’s Thrush has been found in only two primarily locations: Mt. Katahdin in Maine and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The unique yet harsh climate is just what the birds prefer due to the combination of low vegetation and abundant moisture.

Because of the uncommon access provided by the Mt. Washington Auto Road, the new Bicknell’s Thrush Tours will give guests a chance to glimpse these elusive birds. And, they are quite elusive. Even though they are often heard along the Auto Road, they are rarely seen. However, the Bicknell’s Thrush Tours will leave early from the base of Mt. Washington, even before the Auto Road opens to the general public, in order to limit the amount of traffic on the Auto Road and to increase the chances of a sighting.

Bicknell’s Thrush Tour Details:
Dates: June 5, 9, 12, 13, 16, and 18
Time: Tours depart from the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road at 5:30am. Tours last approximately 2 hours. Please plan to arrive by 5:15am for prompt departure.
Cost: $50 Advanced reservations required.

For complete details or to book a tour, contact Mary Power at 603.466.3988 or email

Photo courtesy Vermont Center for EcoStudies.