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Mt Washington State Park: Monday July 2, 2012

Posted on by Mike Pelchat, Manager of Mt. Washington State Park

The good weather during the last full weekend of June gave visitors spectacular views from all compass points.

West View towards Green Mts in Vermont
Percy Peaks to the North
East View
North East View

The close up view to the North East shows a string off wind turbines somewhere in the Rumford, Maine area. These wind farms are popping up all over the country side with many in Vermont, Northern NH and Canada visible on the clearest days. I would love to have a wind turbine on the summit to help power Mt Washington State Park, unfortunately the wind turbine industry can not cope with Mt Washington’s high winds and ice to make it practical. Someday a small robust wind turbine may be developed to handle the summits extreme weather.  In the valleys though, on a few windy ridges, wind farms can be practical as an alternate source of renewable energy

Wind Farm in Maine

A new batch of Alpine Flowers are emerging.

Mountain Cranberry
Labrador Tea and Bunchberry

A week ago today the good weather of mid June finally came to an end with almost 5 days of rain. On Monday the weather on Mount Washington was a chilly 42 degrees with scattered showers. Around noon a call came in from NH Fish & Game to State Park Manager, Mike Pelchat that assistance was needed to help carry an injured hiker to the summit from A.M.C.’s Lakes of the Clouds hut.

Guy on Crawford Path Rescue

The hiker had spent the previous night at the hut and while cautiously descending the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail slid down the slippery ledge and caught his foot in between some rocks causing an abnormal extension. Our guess is a possible distal (near ankle) fibula fracture from the mechanism of injury and signs and symptoms (pain near foot behind ankle and below calf muscle, cannot bear full weight on leg, heard a loud ‘pop’ from lower leg during fall). An X-ray of a mechanically repaired fibula looks like this however depending of the individual not all fractures require metal plates and screws to help heal.

Fractured distal fibula repair

After immobilizing the leg with a splint, a team of AMC volunteers from the hut began the grueling carry up the mountain, soon to be joined by another team of AMC’ers followed by Mike Pelchat and Park Ranger Guy Jubinville from the summit. This 2nd team of AMC rescuers, who just happened to be in Pinkham Notch for meetings,  were not your average group of AMC volunteers, they where all seasoned Hut Masters and Trail Crew who make for powerful litter carriers. On a uphill litter carry with a patient-stretcher-packaging weighing over 225lbs strong backs are not only welcome but essential in getting the job done safely and in a reasonable amount of time.

The carry lasted about 2.5 hours. It takes most people 1.5 to 2 hrs to get up to summit from the Lakes Hut so you can imagine we were moving fast carrying a litter.  Initially the weather wasn’t too bad, light rain, some peek-a-boo fast breaks in thick clouds and light winds.  Near the top of the Crawford Path though heavier weather took over with gusty winds blowing heavy rain and sleet sideways.

With the start of summer at full swing, Park officials would like hikers to be prepared for inclement weather and use caution when trekking or descending on the wet slippery terrain. This past week many hikers arrived to the summit in wet clothing, thankful to enjoy the warmth of the summit building. Again hikers should take in mind that their options for mechanized transportation down from the summit is not always available. This past week on Wednesday the Auto Road was closed to ALL traffic. Hikers had no option for rides unless it was an extreme emergency which could encounter a rescue fee.

It is always recommended, that hikers while planning their trekking expedition, study the maps and possible weather occurrences of their intended travel area, and plan for any oversight that may occur. A visit to HikeSafe.com is always a good refresher to make sure the 10  Essentials for backpacking safety are followed by ALL members of a hiking party.

PS: The grey bunny we were following at Moose Brook State Park is domestic as many readers voiced. Once the estimated 3 month old rabbit calmed down from being dumped, Park Staff were able to catch by hand, and bring down to the Conway Humane Society, for adoption.

Grey Bunny on the Lam
Grey Bunny, now named ‘Clover’

This Blog Entry by Guy Jubinville and Mike Pelchat, from Mt Washington State Park.

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About Mike Pelchat, Manager of Mt. Washington State Park

I've been working atop Mt Washington for past 30 years so you can guess I like it above the tree line! After all these years I still never tire of the beauty of our NH White Mtns and consider my employment an extreme honor and privilege to work for the State Of NH and serve its visitors. When not on the summit you can find me enjoying the rock & ice climbing one of the many beautiful granite cliffs we have in Franconia, Crawford or Echo Lake State Parks. I have taken these climbing skills learned at our NH State Parks to climb in Alaska, Andes, Canadian Arctic and Himalayas. I live in Gorham NH with my wife Diane Holmes. View all posts by Mike Pelchat, Manager of Mt. Washington State Park →
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One Response to Mt Washington State Park: Monday July 2, 2012

  1. avatar oliver griffin says:

    While in the army in 1951 at Ft Belvoir, Va, we sent to Mt Washington to erect a metal building for testing wind speeds and how much wind the building could withstand. Was with the US Army Corps of Engineers.


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