The View from Mt. Chocorua

In September 1924, ten-year-old Barbara climbed Mt. Chocorua with her father. It was (I think) her first White Mountain peak. Eighty-eight years later (who knows—perhaps to the day?) I climbed the same mountain and shot this video, which will be pretty much the same as Barbara’s view from the top.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter she wrote to her friend Mr. St. John on October 5, describing her trip.

The next morning we had breakfast, fairly late, and broke camp, together with something additional—packing our packs for the spend-the-night. Three blankets were all we could conveniently carry for bed-clothes, only Daddy planned to keep a noble fire going all night. Then off we drove for Clement Inn, at the foot of Chocorua. When we got there, we left the car, put on our packs, and started up the Piper Trail. It was not steep at all at first, indeed it was almost level, but up above Chocorua Brook a slight change began. Still farther there was quite an abrupt change, and the hard climbing began. Then we were I think about half a mile from the cabins. We began to get tired, and our discomforting packs pulled back our shoulders, and tried their best to make our feet fly out from under us. At last we got to the cabins—Camp Penacook and Camp Upweekis. We visited them both, but found Penacook much the preferable. The view from camp Penacook was the picture you sent me from Chocorua—I recognized it as soon as I looked down from the camp.

After we had rested and deposited our packs we went on towards the summit, intending, you see, to come back to the cabins that afternoon and spend the night. I was pretty well done for after the climb to the cabins, and Daddy had his doubts about my getting up to the summit that afternoon, but, strange enough, after I was freed from the heavy burden of my pack Daddy couldn’t keep me in sight all the way. I ran up precipices of granite, and caught up to and even led some people who, a long time ago, near the foot of the mountain had passed us while we were resting. On top it answered my dearest expectations. Fold after fold of mountains rising range beyond range into the cloudy sky. Of course, Washington was in clouds, but even what I saw of it, its huge base, was enough to convince me of its tremendous height and size. And the peaks of granite—the very peaks of granite I was standing on! It seemed impossible that I was now standing on that very peak which I had seen so far off at first! Then after a long talk with the fire warden up there, we went down to the cabins again and there we spent the cold bitter night, but thanks to a fire Daddy kept going all night we were reasonably comfortable.

The next morning, after taking a picture, we went down, crossing the seven brooks we had crossed coming up, stopping at the foot to pick a pail-full of blackberries from a huge patch, which were greatly relished at home.

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