Our main plan for the day was to go to the summit of Mount Washington. We had a reservation window so we had to be on time. For once, I didn't hold us up so we were actually early. It gave us a chance to stop for a first cache at a fish hatchery. The hide was in a nice section of woods. After finding the cache, we stopped to feed the fish.
They are the picture of order until the food flies.
We still had time for other diversions before our Mount Washington visit so we stopped for a walk along a trail beside the Ammonoosuc River. The fall colors were wonderful as was the fast running river.
We left the River and made the drive over to the parking area for the ascent to the summit of Mount Washington. There are three ways to reach the summit at 6288 feet, hiking, driving, or riding the cog railroad. Driving was out of the question. We would either hike or take the railroad. It was a tough decision and I hope to make the hike on a future trip, but at a late September date, the railroad was the best decision. Really cold weather and snow is a very strong possibility this late in the year. Besides, a ride up a mountain in a specialized train first built in the late 1800's can't be found everywhere!
Our train was waiting on the tracks when we arrived.
The first ride each Sunday is made by an old steam engine. Our train waited the return of the steam engine. It made quite a sight returning from the top of the mountain.
The seats pivot as the elevation changes so the riders remain parallel to the ground. Each ride has a tour guide and riders are encouraged to move around and take photos during the ride. From standing at the open front of the train to dropping the side windows, the ride is a shutterbug's dream.
I think Ali is hoping I would sit down.
The returning train passes us on its way down.
During the ascent, the train passes the tree line leaving a rocky landscape for the view outside.
The cairn in the center of the picture is one of many that lines the trail so hikers don't get lost or disoriented in low visibility (like today).
There's not much to see with a bino today.
The lack of visibility is very disorienting. With the train ride, visitors are only permitted one hour at the summit. We hoped to find the caches and benchmarks, visit the waymarks, and just play tourists. We were able to find the location of the virtual and leave our painted rock, a couple benchmarks, and a few waymarks. We were able to visit the gift shop and spend a few minutes inside the visitor center, but an hour when your moving cautiously time passes very quickly.
Our return train arrived much too soon.
We were back at the base station and our amazing journey was over way too quickly. The cog railroad will always be an amazing memory. Back at the base station, we played tourists and explored the station before enjoying lunch.
We headed back along the water and woods to enjoy more caches, the fall colors, and some really fast water.
Our last stop was Weeks State Park. There were a few caches to find in the park so we left the car near the park entrance and enjoyed one last hike. On our way to the peak, we stopped for an overlook of the Presidential Range.
The park was closed to everything but walk-in traffic and this unique fire tower appeared to be closed for the season as well. If not, I would have enjoyed climbing to the top for an even better view.
There was rain in the distance, but we were spared getting wet.
On our second trip to Maine, I really hoped we would see and photograph a moose. We got half that filled today. One our return journey we were passing the fish hatchery when a moose emerged from the woods. I hoped to get an image or two, but the vehicle behind us, pulled out and passed us nearly hitting the large animal. I guess it didn't realize we had slowed down because the animal was there. The near miss was enough to make the moose quickly retreat into the woods. A moose photo will have to wait.