Monday, October 26, 2009
A peak drive
MARK’S ARTICLE – October 26, 2009
“Wind over ol’ Satchaconachi”
The highest point in the Northeastern U.S. is the 6288-foot peak of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. You’d care so much more about that if you had ever come close to being blown off that son of gun.
It’s only Kay’s constant whining and claw-like grip that made it possible for me to write this second installment of our recent New England trip. Thank you, Kay. You can let go now.
The highest wind speed ever recorded on this planet was 231 mph, recorded in 1934 at the peak of Mount Washington. The closest thing to that in the entire Solar System, if not the universe, is a gigantic tornado that’s currently whooping it up on Mars. (We can’t determine the wind speed of our own tornadoes, but we can tell how fast they go on other planets. Yeah right.)
The wind speed of the Martian tornado is only slightly less than the non-tornadic wind that blew atop Mount Washington. I’m sure it’s not the fastest that’s ever blown on the summit. It’s just that the poor sap who has to check the twirling windthinger sometimes refuses to leave his bunker. And, I apologize for the technical jargon.
The day Kay and I made it to the top of ol’ Satchaconachi (That’s the Indian name for Mount Washington. It means – “Wind Blow Like Tantu.” Odd, but no one has yet found the meaning of Tantu.)
What was I saying? Oh, yeah, on the day Kay and I went up there, the wind was a little less than 231 mph. But the wind chill was 240 degrees below zero. Remember, that’s not the real temperature. It’s just how cold it would feel if you were strapped to the windshield of a really fast-moving semi. Bottom line, it was cold up there, people.
The wind was so fierce that I couldn’t see. My eyes were just a glob of tears. Frozen tears. Your eyes water big time when a cold wind hits ‘em. They also water when you’re bawling like a baby. Just thought I’d throw that in.
I would’ve turned and walked backwards, but Kay would’ve kept kneeing me. The girl was attached to me at the waist and shoulders. If she had let go, we probably both would’ve taken off. Had I even glanced up, my souvenir cap would’ve ended up on the deck of a Japanese whaler. In which case, the bald spot of my head would’ve developed frostbite and they would’ve had to amputate the part of my brain responsible for intelligent reasoning. Squirrel!
We did get a certificate for making it to the top of the peak. Also got a bumper sticker, which reads “This car climbed Mt. Washington.” I would’ve stuck it on our car, but it was a renter.
We did end up with a bunch of pictures of our journey up the mountain. No photos were taken on the descent. It was all I could do to drag Kay out of the visitor center for our trek to the car. She’d still be up there on that mountain with nothing but really bad chili to eat.
Makes one realize that Mars has nothing on ol’ Satchaconachi. I’m here to tell you, hadn’t been for Kay’s claw-like grip, you would’ve missed out on all this. You would’ve, instead, read something about it in Section A. -- “Conroe couple blown off mountain. Man’s $10 souvenir cap ends up on Japanese eel boat.” – Next time.