Mt. Washington, NH-Be the costumed character you always wanted to be on the Mt. Washington Auto Road this Monday, May 27th at 6:00 am as part of the 3rd Annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day. This always entertaining event is part of the kick-off celebration for the Road’s 152nd operating season. The event will commemorate the many unusual ascents made on the “Carriage Road” since it opened to the public in 1861. While in past years the event has been more oriented to “first ascents”, this year anyone in a costume is welcome to participate.
Another special element of this day will be the unveiling of a folk art American Flag made entirely of wooden sticks found on Mt. Washington. This impressive four by nine foot creation by artist and adventurer Ben Hvar will be dedicated at 12 noon and will be on permanent display at the Auto Road. Hvar will also be making a descent of the Auto Road on Alton Weagle Day in a “Tubemobile” of his own creation, fashioned from inner tubes.
Throughout its century and a half of operation, the Auto Road has always drawn unique individuals eager to make unusual ascents and this tradition continues on Alton Weagle Day. “Year after year, Mt. Washington inspires certain individuals to try something different-some are athletic or vehicular firsts, others are just uniquely entertaining, but they all make history in their own way,” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.
This spirit of fun and adventure was perhaps best captured by day’s namesake, the late Alton Weagle of Walpole, NH. Weagle was a great advocate for safe and sustainable enjoyment of the White Mountains, who became known for awhile as “Mr. Mt. Washington”, thanks to his entertaining exploits during the 1950s. At various times he had run up the Auto Road barefoot, backwards and blindfolded (up and down) and he had pushed up a wheelbarrow with a 100 pound sack of sugar without setting it down; Weagle climbed up and down Tuckerman Ravine, along the Cog Railway and the Auto Road (30 miles) in 14 hours 28 minutes and even got married on the Cog Railway in 1955.
In recent years, several unusual “first ascents” were accomplished, including one person who made the climb on a unicycle, two on roller skis, a trio who Irish stepped danced their way to the top and one man who backed his vehicle from base to summit along the winding 8 mile road to the northeast’s highest peak, 2 people riding tricycles; one Star Wars scout trooper; a fireman in full fire fighting gear including SCBA and hand tool and a buckskin character going up in a go-kart, among others.
For more information about this and other events at the Auto Road visit online at: www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com
Anyone interested in participating with an unusual ascent of their own is required to contact the Auto Road at 466-3988 for schedules and more information.