Sometimes we head into the mountains to hike without a summit in mind. Sometimes we just want to take on some trail, visit some feature, or take in some view. Nothing wrong with this but, but, but… what is that calling? Is it calling to us? What on earth is that? Is that a mountain? Is that mountain calling to us?! Damn that John Muir. You know what this means, right?! We must go! This post by Redline Guide Mike Maciel details such a turn of events, he leading one returning guest when the 6288-foot Mt Washington called to them. Or was that someone yelling?
Plan B: Let’s Summit
For most of our guests, the ultimate goal, Plan A, is a summit. This is especially so in the case of Mount Washington. Our returning guest is a bit of a contrarian, though. He’s a little Gen X. A little counter culture. Grew up listening to and playing in death metal bands. Needless to say, he doesn’t usually want to do what everyone else is doing. The summit of Mount Washington is the definition of what everyone else is doing. The Auto Road. The Cog. The hikers. The cafeteria. It’s a zoo. Meh.
So off we went on a different adventure.
When our guest’s father passed away, he inherited a nice camera which he has been working to get the hang of. This was a nice opportunity to combine his love of a few things: the outdoors, photography, and of course his dad.
Plan A was a bit of a photo safari around Tuckerman Ravine. We’d start at Pinkham and head up with everyone else. But once we hit the top of the ravine we’d go into people avoidance mode. Maybe over to Lion Head. Then maybe back over to Boott Spur. It was a good plan, until the Mountain Goddess got involved and turned a favorable forecast into a foggy day with low visibility. Still some good photo ops, but not the amazing stuff.
We sat at the junction, had some snacks and talked over the options. Our guest surprisingly asked, how about the summit? I texted an update to Mike C at Basecamp:
"Scenery isn't that great today, (guest) would like to head to the summit instead so he gets something out of it. He's doing well. We are at the Tuckerman Junction w/ Alpine G. It's 11:15. So updated plan: summit and then out Lion Head. Down 4-5pm."
We don’t go rogue; safety first — always!
In the end, our guest accomplished his updated goals for the day. We didn’t stand in line for the summit picture everyone else wants, but we might have snuck in for some hot dogs and pizza. Hope he doesn’t lose his street cred over this. 🤘 —Mike Maciel
And here are some photos, also from Mr. Maciel: