August 19, 2014

Steam Train Dream Train

James and I have been traveling up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for as long as we've known each other. It's such a special spot, full of beauty and perfect for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and kayaking... but above all else, what it has going for it are those mountains. They're big, huge by east coast standards, and there is just something about the mountains that always feels like home to me. Sure the ocean is pretty, but nothing flips my lid and melts away my worries like a good mountain view. 

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast, and you don't even have to hike in order to enjoy the scene from the summit, you can actually drive right up to the top (which always seems like cheating to me, and to anyone who's earned those views the hard way). You can also take a train, a cog rail that climbs straight up the steepest terrain of those 6,288ft, and it's one of those things that I always used to see and think was kind of cool, but never imagined I would actually do. 

Enter a three year old who is totally obsessed with trains, and suddenly this was a must-do for our Smith family adventures this summer. I imagine that parenting gets way more complicated when faced with teenagers, whose happiness hinges on all kinds of hormone-fueled emotions and undeliverable achievements... so I'm taking this opportunity to bask in the glow of actually making my kid's dreams come true. I have zero doubt that Little Smith is going to remember this experience, and it feels real-darn-good. 

Three has been a tough year, full of illogical tantrums, and fumbling my way through discipline. It's also been incredibly fun to see my son develop his own personality, have actual chats, and learn about his interests and passions, even if they are as cliche as trains, cars, and bugs. It's crazy how much specific information these little people can soak up, and Little Smith is a bona fide expert on trains; types of engines, rails and cars (I'd embarrass him with my ignorance if I tried to impress you with anymore details). His favorite is unquestionably, the coal fired steam train.

As someone who considers myself an environmentalist, it was pretty unnerving to watch that giant plume of black smoke sully the gorgeous landscape. Thankfully, this cog railway has actually converted most of its engines to bio diesel, keeping one legit steam ride a day for 'steam enthusiasts'... and we had one of those. Along with campfires and my very un-fuel-friendly car, this goes into the big pile of things that I will need to make up to the planet elsewhere.

To be honest, it was really flipping cool. Watching that guy in the back (his name was Cookie!) shoveling that coal furiously into the engine, hearing the real steam whistle and hiss as we clickity-clacked along the impossibly steep track, it's pretty amazing how capable simple technology can be. 

And getting to see those mountain views without having to lug a couple kids to the top, well that was my kind of bonus. 

*so many pictures, so little editing skill ;)


  1. What a treat! Savoring parenting win moments is the best. :)

    1. Thanks Emily, yes we really do feel like heroes (and for doing something fun! Win win :)

  2. Beautiful, beautiful pictures. No editing needed!! I love the train phase. Even though Fletcher has moved on a bit, he still adores a good train ride.


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