Peck's personal Web site
Peck goes to [Mt] Washington [again]
hols have come along again, Thanks Bog. If our friends in Boston, in these boom
years of the greatest US economic expansion the world has ever seen, still refuse to come to
visit us in Europe, well then, we'll have to go to Boston.
in Boston . . . what? Films, friends, pubs, museums, etc., and very relaxing barbecues
in Framingham, and then . . . what?
Well, it's off to the White Mountains again,
to hike our little butts off, and after that -- THE MOOSA
may not find this interesting unless you're included here, so this is a good time
for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the
sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
In mid-July 2001, safely
ensconced once again in the second building of their favorite B+B in Jackson,
New Hampshire, USA, the Crowe's Nest,
Mr Peck and Prof. Charles Berman come back from Jackson's Wildcat Inn rather earlier
than usual and prepare to get serious on the morrow.
Charles Berman, proceeding at a brisk pace up the Ammonoosuc waterfall trail,
seems pleased to have forgotten all about the excesses at the Wildcat Inn and
Peck, tagging along with determination, insists that he can live with the horrible
excesses at the Wildcat Inn, but not with anything resembling Trent Lott. That
said, there's nowhere to go but up.
Berman exults in waterfalls and, at the top of the hour, dials in the BBC for
more news about Trent Lott and Dick "Mr. Fun" Armey on his little shortwave.
Trail, up the waterfalls from the
cograil train station on the west side of Mt. Washington, is one of the most beautiful
hikes in New Hampshire's Presidential Range. From the rail station at 792 meters,
it proceeds (like all Mt Washington trails) up very steep rocky forest, and then
along an active waterfall to the Lake of the Clouds hut at 1540 meters. Thence,
if you are so in the mood to, you can carry on above tree-line to the summit of
Mt Washington at 1917 meters.
This scenic little
Environmental Horror has been plying
its trade up the west side of Mt Washington since the 1890s, and evidently no
one in New Hampshire has yet thought to put some sort of muzzle on that smokestack.
Wherever you may be on the massif of the Presidential Range, when this baby gets
the steam up, you can orient yourself by the dense black plume in the sky.
at the same time, it's lots of fun -- tourists get to pay down
a big packet of money to chug painfully slowly up the cog-track, get out, enter
the gift shop and restaurant at the top, purchase an "I
survived Mt Washington" brandy snifter and choke down a couple
of chili dogs in the meagre 20 minutes allotted to them, and then chug back down
praying that the wind doesn't blow that smoke plume back into the rail car. And
the rest of us can always use the whistle and smoke plume to figure out which
way is north.
descending, with two of the nearby mountains of the Presidential Range -- Mt Jefferson
and Mt Sam Adams -- stretching off northwards.
again, down the same way, former librarian Peck pauses above the Lake of the Clouds
hut. That's not the Lake of the Clouds there in the photo, that's some other water
is the Lake of the Clouds. But no clouds this time (there
certainly were clouds here in 1998).
comes the Huntington Ravine trail -- almost killed us in '98, let's see if it
goes any better this time. We're not getting any younger, but we're still psyching
up for the MOOSA
history seems destined to repeat itself as farce, there's no way round it (literally
and figuratively), we're bound once again for the Huntington Ravine Trail up Mt
Washington. Right up the center there.
90° fahrenheit [32.222°C], with 19-year-old skinhead lads collapsing all over
the rocky slabs, and a brace of somewhat older gentlemen dreaming about retirement
a few years on and thinking through their slender pension options whilst negotiating
all those bloody big rocks nonetheless very happily.
round any rocky corner, and there is Mr. Berman, smiling, waiting patiently.
Peck and Berman breathe deeply whilst a pair of French Canadian tourists obligingly
snap a photo at the foot of the biggish granite slabs.
As more than once before,
Dr Peck begins to whine and bitch at this same little bit of the Huntington Ravine
headwall. Better than 1998, anyway, when
he was insufferable.
much much better than his first time here, in driving rain in
1989, when Sherman Wilson had to
drag him up this part by the collar of his anorak, his heels banging uselessly
on the rock. Reading the climbers' guide afterward, the words "never attempt
this route in bad weather" stood out belatedly.]
there's no need to hurry this. In fact, a little nap
might be a good thing. In fact, a little nap
is always a good thing. For about a week.
Sort of near the top
of the Huntington headwall at this point. Arteries long unused through a grim
winter are opening up again to full capacity, or full diminished capacity, and
many many different religions are passing through one's head all vying for equal
attention. But, frankly, at this point there's no real way to distinguish between
them. Possibly there never is.
Berman, once again, surmounts everything within his purview.
Two former staff members
of the American College of Switzerland (back when it was not a goofy Han dumping
ground) bask next to a Big Cairn, perhaps assembled by US "Special Ops"
forces to direct smart missiles in case Mt Washington should
ever have to be "taken down". We're over the Huntington Ravine headwall
at this point, but with a nice long trudge up to Mt Washington still in prospect.
me lots of food, and don't try to cheer me up!!
Atop Mt Washington,
Former Humanities Department Chairperson Charles Berman soothes his piggies next
to a water fountain which is marked "WATER" prominently.
In front of Tip-Top
House, not the one in Las Vegas, the other one, on top of Mount Washington, former
cement worker Peck can only think of the MOOSA TOUR.
Charles ready to stumble down the Tuckerman Ravine at the end of the day
by the lovely Tuckerman Ravine. The MOOSA TOUR is
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative,
rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 30 November 2001, revised 7 July