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Mount Washington, New Hampshire

I'm just glad I wasn't driving.

The road that snakes around Mt. Washington is narrow and terrifying. There's no guardrail to prevent cars from flying off corners and smashing down steep cliffs. Just to make things more nail-biting, Mt. Washington is also famous for its violent winds – in 1934, a 231-mph gust took the world record (and kept it to this day).

When I arrived with a student group at the summit, the view alone was worth our heart-pounding climb. We could see the White Mountains extending for miles in every direction; hikers emerged on the fringes and plodded their way up the long escarpments.

At over 6,000 ft., I’d never stood at such an altitude, and I was delighted to see the clouds separate around us, revealing sumptuous green valleys. I could see, far below, the webbed trails of a ski resort. How quaint the black diamonds looked from 4000 ft. higher up.

In retrospect, I would've preferred to hike – the road is expensive, at $23 per driver, and the route is fast and treacherous. But because our group was dashing for Maine, the road made for a riveting three-hour excursion, especially when those famous winds whipped up.

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