Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

Mountain Week, The Cog Railway

In honor of my hike this weekend, I thought I would do a post a day about Mt. Washington. Today’s post: The Cog Railway.

A cog railway has a toothed rack rail and is named a cog because it has one or more cog wheels that mesh with the rack rail. Because of this, it is able to operate on steep gradients.

The first cog was in England in 1812 and the first in America was the Mount Washington Cog Railway in 1868.
IMG_0071While this train has been a source of endless joy and excitement for passengers, for hikers it is a totally different story.  The train’s whistle is a constant companion as you hike up the mountain and plumes of smoke can be seen as you go up certain trails.  The worst part, however, is when you get to the top and are all tired and excited to be on top of the summit and have to wait for people who took the train to take their pictures on top of the marker to take your own.

There is something satisfying about moving around these people with your stinky and large backpack and get stared at by people. Last Wed, we were hiking up Cannon and someone was saying on the trail “You wouldn’t want to hike all the way down there!” just as I was coming onto the trail. Several looks were given to us as we slogged on to the tower…I’m sure we’ll get some more this weekend, especially if it is raining.