Mt. Washington Auto Road
here that lists every death by name and cause. More than 135 people have died on Mt. Washington, most of whom were hikers. Only three have died on the road itself, though. In 1880, a stage coach driven by a drunken driver crashed, killing one of its passengers. In 1984, a vehicle experienced brake failure about a mile up the eight-mile road, killing the driver. And then in 2009, a biker bit it. That's three in 150 years out of tens of millions of drivers. It's the safest road in America, basically.
Apparently, we caught the mountain in one of its rare good moods, as well. The sky was extremely blue, with a few clouds that added dramatic effect to the vista. In addition, there were a few clouds, well, below us. That first picture in this article was taken from the lower parking lot, and it’s the first time I’ve ever got my picture taken beside a cloud.
Holiest of cows.
Online sources tell me that on the best days and with the best eyesight you can see 130 miles, which would include five states, Canada, and the Atlantic Ocean. Since they don’t put giant labels on any of those features, I’m not sure what I saw, just that it looked like distance incarnate to me and that, from that distance, the intense Fall foliage of New England blended into a solid rust color, making the far-off hills look extremely Martian.
While we were there, the Cog Railway train arrived, a strange contraption with an angled-engine that looks like it rammed into one of the railroad cars. Built in 1869 as the world’s first mountain-climbing train, it’s currently the world’s second-steepest railway, but is still the only one built on a trestle.
“Climbing” Mt. Washington via the Auto Road was one of the coolest things I’ve done in a while. I should conclude, though, just by way of disclaimer, that I’m not saying it’s not a dangerous place to visit, just that you’ll only be the fourth person to die on the road if you do so.