Mt. Washington Alpine Garden Hike

By Mike Boisvert.

What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning! We are seeing sunshine with temperatures in the 70s! Thirteen of us met at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road to carpool up to the summit. 

The annual running race up Mt. Washington was being held with the base of the auto road becoming one large parking lot. It made it difficult to find everyone and we did miss a couple people. 

The drive up the auto road is always exciting. The views take our breath away as we drove higher. It was motorcycle weekend in New Hampshire and the summit was jammed with bikes and men in leather.

The Alpine Garden Hike in June is one of the best hikes anyone could ever take! Our route takes us down to the headwall of Huntingdon Ravine, across the Alpine Garden to view its miniature flowers in bloom and then back up the summit cone via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

At the junction of the Huntington and Alpine Garden trails we began to see alpine flowers. We spotted white Diapensia,  purple Lapland Rosebay and purple Mountain Cranberry. We were curious to see how steep Huntington’s was and found that the rumors were true…it’s steep! Seeing the gray clouds come flying over the Cow Pasture, we quickly went on our way across the Alpine Garden Trail.
We saw a few awesome yellow Mountain Avens above the Raymond Cataract. Temperatures were around 60 with a refreshing breeze. We met very few hikers on our traverse but Jon did run into a couple of gay guys he works with. It’s a small world, especially among family!

We took a small detour to Lion Head. The views down into the Tuckerman bowl form a striking backdrop to the greener foliage below. There were a few patches of snow left and we snowboard tracks left behind in one of them. 

At the Tuckerman Trail up the summit cone, everyone was reminded that we had to climb over 1,000 feet back to our cars. The piles of rocks laid over each other made the footing difficult. One of the drawbacks about hiking from the summit is that you usually hike up when you are the most tired.

With the fog rolling in, we hastened our pace. At no time were we cold and in fact heated up as we climbed our way back to our cars. I respect the mountain and its moody changes. Even my spring hikes consist of survival gear although it makes for a heavier pack.

The summit cone is always a strenuous pitch. The cute boys we met either hiking down from the summit or climbing up inspired us. We eventually reached our cars. The summit building had closed so we hopped into our cars and drove back down.

I would like to thank everyone who came. They made this a marvelous journey! I get so much more out of this than doing this alone. Next June, you really should try a hike to Mt. Washington’s Alpine Garden!!!!

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