August 31: The Notch Hostel, again

We woke up at the shelter with a warning from a ranger that severe and life threatening weather was coming in for the summits, Washington in particular.

Mount Washington is the tallest Peak in the Whites and stands at a unique confluence of two jet streams.  The result is very swiftly changing weather with extremely high winds at the summits.  In fact, the highest recorded land air speed ever recorded on earth was at the top of Washington.  It is, without a doubt, one of the windiest places on earth.  It can be 70 degrees in august and suddenly drop 50 degrees with high winds in the space of hours.  Typically people get surprised by this weather and die of hypothermia.  Six people died last year alone.

So the ranger said there would be gusts of 90 miles an hour and a wind chill of minus 10.  In short, we were stuck.  So we called the Notch Hostel from last week and had them shuttle us from Crawford Notch to Franconia Notch to wait out the storm.  We hiked down five miles to the Notch and got our Shuttle back.  The forecast also called for life threatening conditions for Friday too, so we had to zero.  

When I got to the Hostel I met no other than Duck and Mishap.  They were in the same position as I was the following week with the previous hikes in front of them.  The hostel was full with the log jam at Washington and new hikers like Duck and Mishap coming up from behind.  It was quite a party with thirty hikers crowding in.  Hopefully the weather will clear and we can climb mounts Webster, Pierce, Jackson, and Washington on Saturday.  Happy trails.

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