Here I will share my travels throughout the majestic White Mountains of NH and also delve into some of the area's rich history and forgotten places. I do this in hopes of getting others excited about exploring these wonderful places.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mt. Jackson - 8/4/09

My friend Jessica and I have been trying to get in some hikes together this summer and she decided that she was ready to attempt her first 4000 footer. Together we opted for Mt. Jackson the lowest peak of the Presidential Range (not counting Mt. Webster). This is one of the easier peaks, but it’s also got a great view, one that I only partially saw on my first trip this past winter. So I was just as excited to get up there as she was. We kept a good steady pace from the outset, but took our time negotiating the wet, slippery rocks. Not too long after starting we arrived at the outlook on Bugle Cliff. This little ledge offering a nice view back to the Highland Center and Crawford Depot.

The view from Bugle Cliff

After a short break here and a few pictures we were back on the trail and walking along, enjoying the absolutely perfect day. The trail alternates between flat sections and short steep climbs, strenuous at times for newcomers to hiking, but never too overwhelming. A steady pace got us to the junction of the two branches of the Webster-Jackson Trail in good time. I remember really enjoying this particular spot on the quiet winter day on my last trip out here. The brook can be heard down the slope a ways, and the woods are beautiful, making this another great spot for a quick break.

Fork in the Webster-Jackson Trail

About a quarter-mile below the top is a clearing between some trees that perfectly frames the summit cone ahead. Jess was glad to see the end approaching, but she was doing really well and, most importantly, was enjoying herself. In a few minutes we began climbing up the rocky knobs just below the summit, which soon turn into the wide open ledges at the top. Jess was blown away by the view and I was too. Last time I was here the majority of the view was socked in by clouds, but there were hardly any in the sky on this day! Not even a single one over Mt. Washington, a rare sight.

View of the Presidentials, and Montalban Ridge to the Right

View South, three-humped Carrigain on R, Chocorua way in back on L
(click to enlarge)

We walked over to the ledges on the North side of the summit area and sat down for our lunch. While here, I was excited to see a couple Gray Jays land a branch next to Jessica. I told her to hold a piece of bread in the palm of her hand,which she did. The bird quickly landed on her finger and took the morsel. She was ecstatic. I did the same an the other bird followed suit and landed on my hand, a first for me as well. It was a great feeling, and I must say the little buggers were adorable.

Making new friends the easy way. With food!

After stuffing our new found friends full of bread crust and taking pictures of the views, we put our packs back on and set off back down the way we had come up. Jess was tired, but I knew the Gray Jays alone had made this an experience she’d never forget, and I was glad to be there for it. This is definitely a great mountain to introduce people to hiking the higher peaks.

Jessica takes in the view across Crawford Notch to the Willey Range and beyond

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