• Mount Washington rises as an adventure travel hub

    2013-03-04

    New Hampshire's Mount Washington may not seem like a place you'd want to visit during the middle of winter. After all, the 6,228-foot peak is home to some of the nastiest weather even in the summer. However, a growing number of adventure travel enthusiasts decide to take the ride up the snow-swept mountain and spend time in what is often referred to as the home of the world's worst weather, The Boston Globe reports.

    The unique tours are offered through the Mount Washington Observatory, which gives interested travelers the chance to see some extreme weather conditions up close. To get to the observatory, tourists take a ride up in a snowcat, and while the observatory is outfitted with all the comforts of home - internet and hot meals are at their disposal - a brief sojourn outside will bring them face to face with wind gusts that regularly reach the 100 mile-per-hour mark.

    Among those who decided to make the trip up is Mark Parsons, a science teacher at a nearby New Hampshire high school. He has gone on the trip twice, and says that he loves getting to experience weather you can only find several places on Earth.

    "For me, it's the opportunity to experience a setting that's difficult to duplicate without driving 1,000 miles north," Parsons told the Globe. "I like the idea that you get this experience, but it's not permanent. You can see what it's like then it's a short walk back inside. I don't think I'd want to go to the Arctic for any extended period of time."

    Mount Washington may seem like an unusual place for such extreme weather. After all, it's much smaller than bigger peaks in the western United States, but its strong winds and heavy snow are caused by a unique confluence of weather patterns. According to the newspaper, it is located where three major storm tracks combine. Now, when you hear from past generations about the Mt. Washington wind gust of 1934 - a 231 mile-per-hour force - you may have a better understanding of how that would be possible.

    The tours offered by the Mount Washington Observatory are indicative of a larger trend. Whether it's spending a weekend in extreme weather or white-water rafting, it's no secret that adventure travel has become one of the most popular areas of tourism. According to a recent survey from George Washington University, The Adventure Travel Trade Association and Xola Consulting, 26 percent of international travelers engaged in adventure travel activities.

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