Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Vacation Day 3

By the third day of our vacation J and I were feeling pretty settled into our snowy accommodations. The pups had both finally oriented themselves to the deeper snow (Poor Jenna had such a hard time at first because she would sink way down and it was a struggle for her to walk/plow through the deep snow) and we were delighted to have another day of recreation together.

In the morning we drove out to the White Mountain Cog Railroad to visit the museum and gift shop before our legendary ride on the Cog train. It was another spectacular event! Following a quick brown bag lunch we had brought, we boarded the train to ride halfway up Mount Washington. The tracks actually continue onto the summit but with world record wind chills it is just too cold for the workers to run the train all the way in the winter.

In West Virginia, J and I had previously ridden a steam train that zig zagged its way up a mountain side. This, this is totally different- the steam engine pushes a passenger car straight up the mountain, kept in place with gears that run along the middle of the track. This is not a journey for those with a fear of heights by any means. The train moves at a racing speed of 3 miles per hour up the mountain and 6 miles per hour back down to the base station. At the destination point [halfway to the summit] the train is stopped for folks to get out and walk within a roped off area of the mountain side (snowy, icy, and steep!) for picture-taking. I have to admit I was pretty scared to walk around up there. One slip and down down down you go. Here are some of our favorite shots from the train ride...

cog_train_engine  Steam engine, every environmentalists worst nightmare. This baby uses about one ton of coal to climb the mountain for these scenic trips. That's one ton PER TRIP.

Cog_train Engine, with passenger car attached, getting ready to climb.

cog_track1  View of the track ahead of us up the mountain slope.

original_cog_engine Original Steam Engine that powered the train for the first 90 years or so of operation.

cog_view cog_view1

Views from the stop point, halfway up the mountain. Check out the slope angle in the picture on the right. Don't want to stumble and fall down!

 

jon_jenni_cog_train J and I riding in the passenger car up the mountain.

cog_track The view of the tracks as we were heading down to the base station. Down, down down!

If you'd like more information on the train, or on Mount Washington (highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6288 ft), this page has all the details.

On the train, I got to talking with the brake man about my quest to get my hands on some moose meat. It is one game meat I've never tasted or prepared and moose are rampant across NH. He introduced me to the train engineer who happened to have bagged a 600 pound moose during hunting season earlier in the fall. He was kind enough to offer J and I about 5 pounds of steaks; we only had to follow him back to his community (about 20 miles away) once he put the train up for the night after our ride. So we waited around for him and did just that. I will, of course, fill you in on the taste once I find a recipe to prepare the moose meat. Have you eaten it before? Any of you have any recipes to share?

After our train ride and detour to pick up the moose meat, we headed back to the cabin for Christmas eve dinner. We enjoyed posole and all its accompaniments as is tradition in our household [and in many southwestern households]. What are your Christmas eve dinner traditions?

Unfortunately, J was feeling quite under the weather due to the dry heat inside the cabin and general overdoing of activities and so instead of making it out to a candlelight Christmas eve service he remained bundled up in bed dosed up on high levels of NyQuil while I supervised his recovery. We did take time to pray together and remember the reason for the season. 

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