从佛蒙特州(Vermont)北开车两个多钟头，就到了新罕布什尔州(New Hampshire)的白色山岭一带(White Mountain Ridges)，这一带山岭高低起伏，蜿蜒盘转。我们向美东最高峰华盛顿山峰(Mt. Washington)开去。华盛顿山峰海拔六千多英尺，是美国东部爬山爱好者必要攀登的主要山脉之一。我们一家2003年曾经来过，当时孩子尚小，我们坐蒸汽火车沿齿轨铁路(cog rail)登上山峰，其中有世界吉尼斯纪录齿轨铁路最陡的轨道（37度的山坡），那段铁路的绰号是"Jacob's ladder"（源于圣经旧约雅各梦见天梯）。这次我们决定开车沿汽车山路(auto-road)上最高峰。两个大人、两个孩子的车子要付43美元，护山员给了我们一个信封和一片碟带。信封里有“登上顶峰”的证书和“这辆车爬上了华盛顿山峰”的车子贴条（听起来真不错，哈哈！）。护山员让我们边上山边听碟带，了解安全开车的小建议，和华盛顿山峰的历史地质事实。。。
Monday August 2nd
From North VM to New Hampshire, the drive was remote but beautiful. When we entered White Mountain Ridges, there were mountains looming high and low, curving against one another. We headed directly to Mt. Washington, which has the highest peak (6,288 feet) in the East of America. Seven years ago our family vacation took us here. Back then both kids were young and they didn't remember much. In 2003 we boarded a cog rail steamed engine to go up Mt. Washington. I still remembered the steep "Jacob's Ladder" (37-degree of Guinness record) part of the journey. This time we decided to use auto-road to drive up to the peak. It cost us 43 dollars to enter and the ranger gave us an envelope and a CD. There was a "Certificate of Accomplishment" and "This car climbed Mt. Washington" bumper sticker. Sounds great, isn't it! The CD gave basic information on safety tips and mountain's history and geography.
We used low gears to climb up the mountain with average speed of 15-20mph. The weather forecast says, "It has 50% chance of storm." Nevertheless, it never rained and when we drove up, it alternated between sunshine and overcast. The mountain view played "hide-N-seek" with us. We took breaks at different observation spots, taking pictures and appreciating the beautiful of mountain ranges.
Mt. Washington has many nicknames, one of them is "The home of the world's worst weather" for its severe winter weather on the top. It has the world's worst wind shield (231MPH) documented in 1934. It is also the oldest man-made attraction in the U.S. history. It was made to public in 1861. The roads were unchanged since then. In the old time, the road was for horse-drawn carriages, now the automobiles was driven to the peak. The road was narrow, but wide enough for two-way traffic. The cliffs on the side can be scary, so it is not advised for people who have fear in heights.
According to the CD recording, the weather of Mt. Washington changes quickly and dramatically. When we reached the top, the clouds moved away for a few minutes, but it soon overcastted. The heavy mist folded above and the observation tower was hidden. There were clouds underneath us, making us feel like floating in the sky.
It was nice seeing the cog rails and the engines on the top, however, the rangers told us that no more steamed engines were used any more, the diesels were used to bring passengers up and down. We felt blessed to have been able to ride on the steamed engine in 2003.
We visited the Information Desk and the Museum at the top. There were pictures and maps explaining the tough weather of the peak. A list of names who died while exploring the peak were displayed on the wall. The temperature was 70's at the bottom and it changed to 50's at the top. It is not hard to imagine how bad the weather can be during winter seasons. There were virtually no plants at the height.
We had a wonderful time at the peak and this time, even for kids, "The memory will take with you forever" as it says among the local Indians.