May 31, 2011- The auto road to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire has seen multiple different types of transportation from feet to hooves to tires. People have hiked up, horses have taken riders to the top, automobiles have made journey after journey and even a Segway has traversed the road. One man counted each of his steps to the top reaching 16,925 as he crested the summit. There has even been a camel and sled dogs that made the trek.
The eight mile, steep and narrow road that leads to the 6,200 foot summit has been both delighting and scaring visitors for the past 150 years. A reason many are scared is the lack of guard rails and the drop-offs that are almost vertical on the long windy road.
Officials this year are celebrating the 150 year anniversary with tributes to record holders, past daredevils and those with just a bumper sticker saying they made the climb. One tour guide has been giving personal tours since 1974 and recalls that some cannot take the corners and drop-offs and end up putting their heads down in their laps until they reach the top.
There is an average of 250,000 people that visit each year and the road to the top of the Northeast’s highest peak is considered the oldest man made attraction in the U.S. Mount Washington has another dubious distinction as well, it was voted as having the World’s Worst Weather. From fog and wind to extreme bone chilling cold the summit can be treacherous to say the least. In 1934 a 231 mph gust of wind was recorded and was a world record for over 60 years.