Tour: A GSA’s Cog Experience
By: Tim Adams, Southern NH University, GSA Class of 2014
Wednesday, January 26th was an interesting, and rather busy day for several GSAs, as we had been invited to take a ride on the Cog Railroad, part way up Mountain Washington.
Since I live in Nashua, and likely the furthest away so the longest drive, I looked for a place to get some lunch before the ride, which was scheduled for 1:30 in the afternoon. We were, however, asked to arrive around 12:45 so tickets could be passed out.
With the Omni Grand Mount Washington just a short 10-15 minute drive away, I looked and saw that the Stickney’s Restaurant was opened serving lunch, so I decided to get there early enough to grab a bite to eat and still make the base of the Cog in time to get my ticket.
Carpooling was arranged with a couple of people, Donna K, and Bruce F, so we got together in Bedford, just a short distance off the Everett Turnpike, and headed North.
We arrived at the Omni around 11:15, and as we entered the drive, I pulled over to take my first picture of the day.
Personally, I think this Grand Hotel looks better with the White Mountains behind it, when the mountains are living up to their name and ground in the front is also white. Of course, that’s just my personal opinion, and those of you that ‘hate’ the cold and the snow, will disagree with it.
At the Omni, we caught up with 2 other GSAs, Leigh and Dawn, that I had made arrangements to meet for lunch. The five of us found our way to Stickney’s, where we had to wait a few minutes till they opened, right at 11:30.
After lunch we headed back to the parking lot and made our way over to the Cog. In a few minutes the train, that had been up the mountain with another group of people, returned to the station.
Upon boarding the train, people were looking for the seat that corresponded with the number on their ticket, but I ignored that, planning to move if asked, and sat in the very back seat so I’d have a clear view of the mountain as we went up. I didn’t know at the time that the back door, next to where I was sitting, would be opened the entire trip up!
Starting up the Cog, Steve started giving us the history of the building of the railroad, and I got to take pictures out the ‘front’ window. While you can see the tracks ahead of us, Steve was also watching them for obstacles that might hinder our ascent up the mountain. While the train had just come down, it still pays to be cautious with every trip.
We did see a couple of people skiing down the mountain. While you can buy a ticket and carry your skis up to where the train stops and ski down from there, you have to buy a round trip ticket! These skiers had walked up the mountain and were, I’m sure, enjoying the trip back down.
The train stopped at the point called the Waumbek Station, about the 4,000 foot point up the mountain. Looking up from there you could see the steep point called ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’ They stop at this point as the tracks tend to get snow-covered in drifts a short way above this point, making it difficult to keep the rails opened for year round travel.
At the stop, there were a couple of fire pits so you could stand and get warm, or even roast a marshmallow, as several people did. There were also a couple of open-faced ‘warming huts,’ one of which contained hot Chocolate, coffee and cookies.
After about 20 minutes, which included a GSA group picture, we returned to the train for our trip back to the base of the mountain and the ride home.
I’m including several pictures that I took along the way up and down the mountain, as well as several I took while we were stopped on the mountain. Unfortunately, sometimes pictures don’t do the trip justice and you really do have to go and see the sights in person.