Cog Railroad owner Dwayne Prezby is at it again. After failing to secure permits for a mountaintop hotel along the Cog Railroad tracks on Mt. Washington in 2018, Prezby has revamped his plans to include lodging in Cog boxcars staged above treeline. Prezby’s second go at a “hotel”—announced March 2022—would, if approved, include a bar and restaurant. A sewer line would be built along the Cog tracks to carry human waste down the mountain. Although most of the mountain is part of the White Mountain National Forest or is owned by the State, Prezby owns a small parcel of land along the Cog tracks, near the summit. “Those butthead hikers objected to me building a hotel on the mountain—a slap in the face of my God-given right to do whatever I want on land that I own,” said Prezby. “But this time, nothing will be built on the mountain, it'll all be contained in rail cars. It's going to be great. Let them try to stop me now. Ha! Let them try."
In 2018, Prezby withdrew his original hotel proposal in the face of public blowback, especially among the hiking community. Hikers, search and rescue volunteers, and ecologists warned that the proposal would exacerbate impacts to alpine soils and endangered vegetation, negatively impact scenery, increase litter, and create situations where inexperienced visitors could get lost in the notoriously bad weather Mt. Washington is known for. There were petitions and talk of boycotting the Cog Railroad. In response, Prezby exacted revenge by charging hikers a “railway robbery” sum of $10 per person to park at the Cog Railroad parking lot—well beyond the $5 per car fee (or $30/year) that the U.S. Forest Service charges for their lots.
"I’m also planning a casino, Vegas style shows, and maybe a gentleman’s club. And each railcar will be painted with billboard ads and neon lighting. We’re thinking of calling it Dwayne Prezby’s Pleasure Express. It’s going to be the best thing that has ever happened at 6,000 feet. Just you wait and see. When I’m finished, you won’t even know the mountain is there.”
--Junior Parsnip editor, Picea Rubens
“. . . clubbing and spearing with trekking poles, stomping on each other with snowshoes and microspikes. . .it was absolutely medieval. . .
--Sunday, February 13, 2021
A group of up to 20 hikers were involved in a brawl on top of New Hampshire’s Mount Lafayette on Sunday, according to bystanders who witnessed and filmed the melee. The fight seemed to have begun with verbal disagreement about the use, or lack thereof, of snowshoes.
“They were beating each other. . . clubbing and spearing with trekking poles, stomping on each other with snowshoes and microspikes,” said hiker John Dowgh, who saw the event unfold. “Two of them were wrestling and ended up sliding down the mountain about 100 feet and bouncing off rocks. It was absolutely medieval. I’m glad none of them were carrying an ice ax.”
The altercation, which onlookers said lasted about 15 minutes, began with a group wearing snowshoes accusing a snowshoe-less group of “ruining the trail” by “postholing”—the practices of leaving awkward holes in deep snow instead of tracking out a trail neatly with snowshoes. The verbal exchange quickly devolved into shoving and then blows. Although the combatants eventually went their separate ways, some of them bloodied and bruised, officers with the New Hampshire Fish & Game are seeking information on their identity in order to press charges.
“Animosity between the snowshoes vs. post-holing crowd isn’t new,” said Larry Lawson of the Fish & Game. “But this is the first time I’ve heard it coming to blows. Our motto here in New Hampshire is Live Free or Die—which, sure, encourages people to act like ignoramuses, but no matter what you think about postholers—regardless of how selfish you think they are—physical violence is never the answer.”
Moose tend to use hiking trails as shortcuts through dense brushy areas, and they leave heaps of scat—round, brown pellets the size of Hershey’s Kisses—right on the trail. The practice of eating the scat became a “thing” in the winter of 2020 with a number of hikers posting photos and video of themselves engaging in the act. “My daily multi-vite” one hiker stated on Twitter, “now I’m armored against Covid for the rest of the day!” Another hiker stated (in a caption below a Facebook photo of him with a piece of scat between his teeth), “Who needs vaccines? This here’s the real-deal organic solution!”
As evidence of the practice spread on social media, White Mountain National Forest staff and local healthcare workers became concerned. They turned to Dr. Fauci for help.
Fauci, during a recent interview with CNN, addressed the issue with some exasperation: “There is no scientific evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that suggests eating moose scat (or any other kind of scat) will confer resistance to Covid-19. I don’t recommend it. Although it won’t kill you, it’s an unsanitary practice that could result in your being exposed to other pathogens. If nothing else, it’s certain to give you bad breath.”
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