Our 12th Annual Mount Washington Hike for Mental Health is just 4 weeks away! Thank you all so much for taking part and doing such a wonderful job fundraising. You’re really incredible people, and we’re so excited to make this trek with all of you!
We want to go over a few important details as well…
Getting Started on the Hike
The hike on Saturday, August 26 will start with registration at a lower parking lot of the Cog Railway, off Base Road. Look for the HFMH Parking sign as you enter the area. Click here for directions.
If you plan to park a car, bring $10 for the parking fee and validate your parking tag at hike check-in. If you do not get the HFMH parking validation, the facility will charge their normal parking rate of $10 PER PERSON and will tow your car while you are hiking if it wasn’t paid in full.
The hike will start at 7:00 AM. Registration will start at 6:15 AM and will take approximately 10 minutes so please arrive no later than 6:30 AM. Everyone will receive a free HIKE for Mental Health bandana.
We will also have HFMH bracelets available for sale for $5.
After registration, we will take a series of team photos and head out on the Jewell Trail in a few hiking groups.
Arriving at the Summit
Due to different hiking speeds, hikers will reach the summit at different times. Please check-in with our volunteer on Summit when you arrive, and check-out with them when you start your descent. It helps to know when/where everyone is.
And remember, this is not a race. Proceed at a hiking pace and hike with others that maintain a pace comfortable for you. We have excellent hike leaders and experienced sweep hikers to make sure everyone arrives at the summit safely. We will also have a volunteer stationed near tree-line to monitor hiking pace; if she advises you that based on your pace it would be unsafe to attempt to proceed to the summit, please heed her advice.
It is important to stay on the trail. Please do not follow the railway tracks down the mountain. Keep your children with you – you are responsible to maintain direct supervision of them at all times during the hike.
Take and Share Photos
Because hikers will arrive at different times it is difficult to coordinate a full group picture on the summit. If you see a group of HFMH hikers when you’re at the top, please ask someone to take a group photo! We would like to see as many group photos at the summit as possible. Share photos on our Hike for Mental Health Mt. Washington Summit Team 2023 for all to enjoy! Hint – request to join that group now so you will be able share and see what others share on the hike.
If you are hiking down, you should begin to make your way down the mountain no later than 1 PM. Most of the group should be back to the starting point by around 4:30-5:30 PM. If you arrive at the summit after 1:00 PM, we highly recommend taking the Cog Railway down the mountain and meeting us at the bottom. This is due to the likelihood you would not complete the descent before dark. Getting caught on the mountain after dark is not recommended! The last steamer train will depart around 4:30 PM. There is a fee (approximately $50 but bring extra – price subject to change).
If the Cog is fully booked for some reason, a Hiker Shuttle Service is also available. The Hiker Shuttle runs from approximately 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily, weather permitting. On busy days – which are most summer weekends – they stay open until 6PM. One-way tickets are $55 and can be purchased at the Summit Stage Office. After 5:00 PM ticket prices increase to $75. Dogs are permitted on descent for $20. Shuttle price includes transportation to the Base of the Auto Road, AMC Pinkham Notch Camp, or Great Gulf Trailhead; but not back to the COG Railroad Parking lot. Fortunately, our absolutely awesome volunteer Joanne has generously offered to pick up hikers at one of these locations and drive them back to their automobiles at Cog Railway. This is about a one-hour drive so we will implement this option only if necessary. If you have any questions about the Hiker Shuttle, visit their website.
What to bring
The weather on Mt. Washington can be VERY unpredictable. While the temperature for the start of the hike at the bottom of the mountain will be similar to our normal daily temp’s, the average temperature at the top of Mt. Washington in August is only in the 40’s with 24 mph winds. The temp has varied from a low of 20° F to a high of 72° F – in August. It can rain and snow – yes, snow – as well.
We are hoping for a totally gorgeous day, but BE PREPARED. Dress in layers. At a minimum, bring:
- a warm under-layer (not cotton)
- comfortable, loose outer clothing, and
- a waterproof shell or windbreaker
- a wool or synthetic sweater, a warm hat (think winter), and light gloves
- good walking/hiking shoes or boots (unless you are one of the brave barefoot hikers!)
Depending on weather, you may not need everything listed, but as I said, you can’t depend on the weather. The day can start out beautiful and turn challenging very fast.
Food & water
- Bring at least 1 quart of water for the hike. If it is a hot day, you may want a second quart. You can refill water bottles at the top.
- Bring a couple easy-to-digest energy snacks for the hike up and down. Tom prefers items wrapped in bacon and dipped in chocolate but we cannot recommend that approach.
- For lunch at the top, you can either bring a lunch with you, or bring money to buy food at the cafeteria which is part of the weather observatory there. There is not a lot of variety but they usually have hearty soups, hot dogs, chili, sandwiches, and the like.
Other items you may want to consider
Try not to bring too much other weight unless you are accustomed to hiking with a pack. After all, it is all uphill, so no sense in lugging extra weight. Having said that, a few items you may want to consider are:
- cell phone / camera
- personal first aid supplies – aspirin, band-aids (we will have a group first aid kit on the hike)
- sun screen
- trekking poles or hiking sticks
After the Hike
Please feel free to join us for free refreshments and a post hike celebration in the Cog parking lot when you’ve finished the hike. We want to hear all about your adventure!
Hikers staying at the Twin Mountain KOA Campground
Suzanne and Dana are staying in Rustic Cabin #3. Mark Langdon and John Henry will be in Rustic Cabin #5. Staci, Nicholas, and Sue will be in cabin KT4. Saturday night we will have a campfire going with s’mores, if you would like to come and participate. If you are not staying at the KOA, try to connect on the hike with someone who is to car pool in because guest parking is limited. Also, bring some cash as the KOA may charge a visitor fee. Here is a link to the KOA map.
Also, be sure not to miss the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the main lodge Sunday morning. It costs $5 a person and it’s worth it! KOA checkout is at 11:00 AM.
Again, Staci, Dana and Suzanne will be staying at the KOA, arriving by the evening before the hike. Please feel free to call or text with questions or concerns. Thanks so much everyone! Thank you for being part of the hike and for helping raise $$$ and awareness to help eliminate the suffering from mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. Let’s make this a super fun weekend & a hike to remember!!