This trip started out at midnight with a loud thunder and lightning storm over the top of us. It was down pouring when we got up to leave and got lucky the rain stopped just long enough to load everyone up without making a mess inside the car.
It was a 2.5-hour drive to the gate of Mt. Washington’s Auto Road. When you get to the gate it’s another 20-30 minutes up the 8-mile winding road. The drive itself wasn’t too bad, albeit I didn’t drive, Johnny did. It was terrifying a few times.
We did the Sunrise drive, which is only done 3 times a year, and it was pitch black, foggy and the road was consistently very close to the edge with very sharp/sudden turns.
Reaching the summit we realized we were absolutely under-dressed and that we were all going to freeze. It was 45 degrees with a wind chill of 37 degrees at the 6, 288 ft summit.
On our way up to the Observation Deck, I tried to get some pictures but it was SO cold… Matthew started to break down. He was “hopping” slowly behind us, (he hurt his ankle the day prior) the wind was blowing and he now had to climb this huge staircase. Johnny ended up fireman carried Matthew because he just couldn’t.
Once we got inside and the kids were able to get warmed up it was all smiles again. We watched the sunrise at 5 am from inside the observation deck, enjoying some hot cocoa and getting a magnet (it’s our “thing”) for the magnet wall!
Every once 30 Minutes or so, I’d rally everyone to go outside. Mostly so they would experience the amazingness of being at the highest peak of the northeast… but also because I wanted pictures to document it and we could only stand 10 minutes at a time.
Things To Check Before Visiting The Auto Road
Be sure to head tp their website for ample information.
THE WEATHER – For some reason, Johnny in the rush of getting ready said: “It’s going to be cold, the high is 65.” None of us thought about what the low was going to be and that we would be hanging out at the peak during that temperature. Mt. Washington is known for being the highest peak of the northeast and receiving record-breaking winds. The morning we went the winds were gusting at 35-45 and Chloe and Jacob were having to fight to stay upright.
YOUR VEHICLE BRAKES – The auto road has only had 3 deaths (says their site) and one was due to failed breaks. I’d definitely recommend checking them before you do this drive. The grade wasn’t too bad but it is a 20-30 min ride down and if you aren’t familiar with Mountain driving ( I am not, Johnny is) I’d suggest you understand your vehicle and your capabilities. They provide guided tours if you just don’t want to chance it or don’t like driving on the edge of a mountain.
EVENT CALENDAR- I was lucky when I checked out the Auto Road I happened to see that one of the three Sunrise Drives were coming up. I thought it was a neat, limited opportunity!
I cracked the back of my iPhone for the shot of us all at the summit. It’s no doubt that I am going to need to replace the lost GoPro and possible add a few more tools to help take family photos!
We stayed for a few hours at the summit and when we left and the views did not disappoint! As we drove down we stopped at a few of the little “lookout points”.