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

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