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To the Moon!

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    • To the Moon!

      Last week, I took advantage of my proximity to Mount Washington to book a trip for Mrs. Tortoise and I on the Cog Railway. We picked a day with a clear forecast for the morning afternoon and drove the 90 minutes up to the Base Station.

      During the ride up, the brakeman in the passenger coach told the story of Sylvester Marsh and how he envisioned building the project to allow common folks to get to the summit. Because the land was on federal property, he had to appear before Congress to request a permit for the build and operation of the rail line. after the permit was approved, one of the skeptical politicians told Marsh "After you get to the summit of Mount Washington, why don't you just continue all the way to the moon!"

      On the ride down, the brakeman continued the story as we approached the AT track crossing. He told us that AT hikers honor the Cog Railway's "to the moon!" statement by mooning the train. I had of course heard of the AT hiker tradition, but I didn't realize that the Cog Railway brakemen had incorporated it into their schtick.

      So much for the clear forecast. We couldn't see a thing until we were halfway down towards the Base Station. But hey... I have now completed the Mount Washing Summit Trifecta - Auto Road, AT and Cog Railway - all without seeing a thing!

      2007


      2019


      2021
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Carter Notch NH
    • While the brakeman's story may (or may not) be true, I don't believe his conclusion for a second.

      I believe he's attempting to put a positive spin on why (some) hikers moon the cog.

      I'd ask Snopes to investigate but they're pretty busy with more importantant topics these days.
      2,000 miler

      The post was edited 1 time, last by max.patch ().

    • Would make sense, and at least be an easy way to explain it should it happen on any given trip (since there are likely many riding the train that would have no connection to hiking to know about the possibility of such a thing occurring).
      Though perhaps it should be earlier in the trip, in case they happen upon a hiker going up?
    • BillyGr wrote:

      Would make sense, and at least be an easy way to explain it should it happen on any given trip (since there are likely many riding the train that would have no connection to hiking to know about the possibility of such a thing occurring).
      Though perhaps it should be earlier in the trip, in case they happen upon a hiker going up?
      Of course the story is told to explain why hikers moon the Cog Railway trains. I believe that the brakeman on the way up would have continued with the story if he had seen any hikers. The brakeman on the way down (different coach / brakeman) finished the story in preparation for seeing hikers on the way down.

      The real question is: why do hikers moon the passengers? Spite for taking the easy way up? An opportunity to show off heat rash on one's cheeks?
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Carter Notch NH
    • Another interesting fact is that the passenger coach and the engine are not coupled. The engine pushes the coach on the way up and stops the coach from accelerating on the trip back down to base camp. Also, the engine has multiple cog drives engaging the track, so one malfunction doesn't cause a crisis.

      On the trip down, our brakeman kept one hand firmly on one of the coach brake wheels during the entire descent.

      Mrs. Tortoise struggled mightily with the steady 50 mph winds as she approached the summit sign. After the trip, I asked her to imagine crossing the open summit of Mt. Madison in similar conditions. She got a little pale... Brought back memories of using windage when swinging my foot to the next rock - start upwind and allow the breeze to move my foot downwind before shifting my weight. Good times.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Carter Notch NH

      The post was edited 1 time, last by StalkingTortoise ().

    • StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Another interesting fact is that the passenger coach and the engine are not coupled. The engine pushes the coach on the way up and stops the coach from accelerating on the trip back down to base camp. Also, the engine has multiple cog drives engaging the track, so one malfunction doesn't cause a crisis.

      On the trip down, our brakeman kept one hand firmly on one of the coach brake wheels during the entire descent.

      Mrs. Tortoise struggled mightily with the steady 50 mph winds as she approached the summit sign. After the trip, I asked her to imagine crossing the open summit of Mt. Madison in similar conditions. She got a little pale... Brough back memories of using windage when swinging my foot to the next rock - start upwind and allow the breeze to move my foot downwind before shifting my weight. Good times.
      When I was a kid there was an accident on the Cog that took the lives of 8 people.

      northstarmonthly.com/features/…e9-9de4-7b44d5b8c75e.html

      I never rode it. I'll take my chances walkin :)
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Another interesting fact is that the passenger coach and the engine are not coupled. The engine pushes the coach on the way up and stops the coach from accelerating on the trip back down to base camp. Also, the engine has multiple cog drives engaging the track, so one malfunction doesn't cause a crisis.

      On the trip down, our brakeman kept one hand firmly on one of the coach brake wheels during the entire descent.

      Mrs. Tortoise struggled mightily with the steady 50 mph winds as she approached the summit sign. After the trip, I asked her to imagine crossing the open summit of Mt. Madison in similar conditions. She got a little pale... Brough back memories of using windage when swinging my foot to the next rock - start upwind and allow the breeze to move my foot downwind before shifting my weight. Good times.
      When I was a kid there was an accident on the Cog that took the lives of 8 people.
      northstarmonthly.com/features/…e9-9de4-7b44d5b8c75e.html

      I never rode it. I'll take my chances walkin :)

      LIhikers wrote:

      Kathy and I did take the cog railway once. I enjoyed the trip.
      There's a cog railway that goes up to Pike's Peak in Colorado too.
      Now you tell us, after we have already rode it. At least we all made it safely. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I spoke with a hiker that used the Cog Railway maintenance trail (adjacent to the tracks) for a winter descent. He had a huge grin describing the fast slide down on his buttocks.

      Boys will indeed be boys.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Carter Notch NH