New Hampshire Route 16 follows the Ellis River as it rises on Mount Washington and flows some 17 miles south into Glen, where it empties into the Saco. . “I was driving,” Schultz says, “and I looked down from the bridge and saw the fly fisherman. It looks like he’s in the middle of a beautiful wilderness.”
Nicholas Howe has spent a lifetime writing about the people and places in the shadow of Mount Washington. “He has every column he’s ever written,” Schultz notes. A columnist for the Conway Daily Sun, Howe is the author of Not Without Peril, a gripping narrative of people who have lost their lives to the unforgiving elements on Mount Washington.
For generations, children of summer have plunged into the cooling waters of the Swift River, a tributary of the Saco.
Classic cars and newer models alike boast of their eight-mile climb up the historic Mount Washington Auto Road. Here, Schultz caught a 1957 Chevy Bel Air owned by Bob King of Glen, New Hampshire, as it was tooling along the Kancamagus Highway.
For more than two decades at Cathy Hunter’s Old Village Barbershop & Shave Parlor in North Conway, clients (Allen Cox pictured here, with barber Tim Martineau) receive a trim, a shave, and a “frosty cold beverage.”
A timeless scene in the valley is a wedding amid scenic splendor. The June 30 wedding of Danielle Morin and Jason Leboeuf of Worcester, Massachusetts, brought friends from far and wide to Jackson, New Hampshire.
Echo Lake State Park gives children a place to cool off, while rock climbers work up a sweat finding toeholds on White Horse Ledge, overlooking the water.
Just a totally great guy, one of the nicest people I met,” Richard Schultz says of local organic farmer Glen Mitchell. Mitchell, who provides vegetables to local restaurants, digs radishes beside the Ellis River and has been one of the main backers of North Conway’s Sunday Farmers’ Market.
In the Mount Washington Valley, tradition and history infuse every aspect of life. Here Bob Drummond, retired director of guest services/bell captain at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, gazes from the resort’s famous porch. While guests see stunning mountain views, he sees his family’s legacy. His late father, Dave Drummond, was general superintendent of the whole property and lived in the caretaker’s cottage on the resort for more than 30 years. Bob Drummond’s son James is the current director of guest services/bell captain, and his grandson Tanner works in guest services as a bellman.
Heritage Conway Scenic Railroad trips depart from North Conway’s historic station.
Joe Eggleston, engineer on the “Number 9,” one of the Cog’s vintage coal-fired steam locomotives (most Cog locomotives now run on biodiesel), checks conditions before departing Marshfield Base Station. “He had to put in shovelfuls of coal every minute,” Schultz says. “I was shocked by how much work it was to control the amount of steam.”
Rebecca Scholand, weather observer and education specialist at Mount Washington’s Summit Observatory, continues the site’s 80-year-old mission to monitor and research the mountain’s extremes. During Hurricane Sandy she joined the “unofficial” list of those who have braved 100mph winds while walking around the Observatory’s deck without assistance.
Terry Eaton helps postal customers at Eaton Village Store & Post Office, which serves a year-round population of about 395.
While driving U.S. Route 302, Richard Schultz spotted the Conway Scenic Railroad train en route to spectacular Crawford Notch.
Brakeman Tom Rohm looks out of his coach on the Cog Railway train as it begins its three-mile ascent up Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet the highest peak in the northeastern United States. A forerunner named “Old Peppersass” made its first successful climb up Mount Washington on July 3, 1869. The day Richard Schultz boarded, the weather closed in before the summit, ice formed on the tracks, and they turned back. Rohm had to manually work the brakes on the descent. “A bit unnerving,” Schultz admits.
Sunrise over the Saco River Valley and the White Mountains from Cathedral Ledge is the reward for photographer Shef Reynolds (opposite, standing), who assisted Richard Schultz during their week of photographing in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley. Cathedral Ledge, which can be seen from North Conway, is a famous rock- and ice-climbing lure. For less-intrepid souls, the ledge can be reached by a less-daunting mile-long auto road and hiking trails. Advice from local expert climbers led Schultz to this spot. He loved “the drama of a sheer drop and a beautiful background.”
All photos/art by Richard Schultz
The artists came to Mount Washington and its valley first, in the middle of the 19th century, and their keen eye for beauty and detail brought others from the cities with the money and desire to feel what the artists did. Mount Washington, at its 6,288-foot elevation the highest mountain in the Northeast, rises over a valley brimming with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and thousands of acres of forest. When the early travelers breathed the summer air, they told others about this place, and soon the grandest hotels in the country spread across the valley like great ocean liners perched before the mountain. So much has evolved over the decades in the Mount Washington Valley. Hikers and climbers who thrive on endurance and strength and courage today wait in traffic beside a new kind of explorer: the outlet-mall bargain shopper, whose endeavor demands its own special endurance. But these things haven’t changed: a physical beauty unmatched in the East; a year-round populace stirred by the bracing winds that sweep off the mountains; people who bring a fierce love of their home and the outdoors.
It’s no simple task to capture in photos a place with so many faces. Early last summer, photographer Richard Schultz and his assistant, Shef Reynolds, spent a week shouldering their cameras, following the advice they heard from locals: where to see sunrise; where to find the best local color in a valley where everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell.
“The fun for me is the people I meet,” Schultz says. “It’s the exploration of a new area and the experiences I have. The people were so welcoming to being photographed. I consider this a gift. That they allow this access, not only to photograph them but to be comfortable, so that I can capture what happens naturally.” On the pages that follow, the personality of a distinct part of New England does indeed emerge, between the moments when Schultz’s camera clicked and strangers let him in to see.