PINKHAM NOTCH — Alton Weagle Day was held Saturdya at the Mt. Washington Auto Road, kicking off the road's 158th summer season and celebrating new and different ways to ascend the 7.6 mile road to the summit of New England's highest peak.
The annual event, named in honor of Alton Weagle (1911-1984), gives people a chance to walk or ride up the road performing some unique activity. Weagle himself was famous for his record number of "first ascents," including climbing it backwards, blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow full of 100 pounds of sugar — without putting it down.
Since those days there have been many unique ascents of the Auto Road to Mount Washington’s 6,288-foot summit, but starting in 2011, Alton Weagle Day has become an annual event, logging well over 100 “firsts” during its nine-year run.
For 2019, the event drew 13 people and two dogs, all of whom had the passion of true Weaglers.
Three of them conquered the mountain on wheels, including Hans Bauer, an Auto Road tour driver, on his antique Penny Farthing bicycle; Great Glen Trails’ own Nate Harvey who backed a van and trailer to the summit; and Erik Kondo who rode a KartBOT — an innovative mobility vehicle of his own design.
Ten others challenged the road on foot, including Shannan Budde with inflatable T-Rex, Enna Carbone dressed as a snow leopard, Michelle McElroy as a can of Tab, Sue Wemyss as Nessie. Andrew MacLean pushed a lawn mower uphill for 7.6 miles, and Linda Hindl and Jim Pac climbed as one in a three-legged walk. Three Weaglers coached, passed and received the first NFL pass on Mount Washington — Jesse Lyman, Lily Hodgdon and Addison Koehler.
As with every Alton Weagle day, history was made and fun was had by all.
The Auto Road and Great Glen Trails have a full summer of activities planned including special sunrise drives; flower and bird tours; days for ATVs and motorcycles only; foot and bicycle races; special events for adaptive athletes and veterans; and Muster in the Mountains, a Revolutionary War era re-enactment encampment. For more information, go to mtwashingtonautoroad.com.