Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mt. Jackson via Webster-Jackson Loop September 15, 2012

Mt. Jackson (4,052') via Webster-Jackson, Webster Cliff (AT) trails September 15, 2012

Mileage:  6.74 miles (loop)

Elevation gain:  2,951'

Trailhead:  Trail starts across from Crawford Depot on Route 302, about 8.5 miles east of the junction of Rt. 3 and Rt. 302 (Twin Mountain), 0.1 mile after the Highland Center. 

Lesson learned:  Check the trail signs AND the map.

Hiked with Rich today.  This was our second time up Mt. Jackson (see previous posting), the first being in November when conditions were quite icy.  I was hoping for more pleasant conditions this time. We decided to do the Webster-Jackson loop, visiting the summit of Mt. Webster on our way up to Mt. Jackson. We hiked the loop counter-clockwise.

We started up the trail around 9 a.m.; at .6 miles we took a short side trip to Bugle Cliff.

Trail is quite rocky and starts off fairly steep.

View from Bugle Cliff
We continued on until we reached the trail junction.  The Webster-Jackson trail is "Y" shaped, with a Jackson branch and a Webster branch.

Notice you will stay on the Webster-Jackson trail either way you  go.
For the direct route to Jackson turn left at this sign. We went straight (the Webster branch), excited to explore a new route.  On the way up we passed Silver Cascade Falls.

The trail steepens immediately after the falls and continues to climb to the Webster Cliff trail junction.  One of the signs at that trail junction reads, "Mt. Webster Summit .1."  Not checking our map or the direction of arrow on the sign we take a left onto the Webster Cliff trail, toward Mt. Jackson.

Had we checked our map and gone right .1 miles we would have enjoyed the wonderful views the summit of Mt. Webster has to offer.  

The trail tops out shortly after the junction and we started descending, wondering how we could have missed the summit of Mt. Webster.  We'll have to get it next time. 

We headed toward Mt. Jackson on the Webster Cliff trail. This part of the trail is wooded with no views. As we started our ascent up to Mt. Jackson we could see glimpses of view when we turned around. All that was ahead was a gray cloud.  

Scrambling up the slabs was fun; all scrambles have good footing and hand holds.

Who doesn't love a good scramble on dry rock?!
 The summit of Mt. Jackson was a dark, windy place; not unlike the last time we visited it (except this time we saw no views). We took a few photos and headed down the Jackson branch of the trail.

Cold, rainy, windy.

 Below the slabs (which were dry and easy to get down), the trail was muddy with some deep puddles here and there.  This section of trail is experiencing serious erosion and is in need of new bog bridges.  

After a side trip to Elephant Head, headed to Route 302 back to our car.

View from Elephant Head (which looks just like an elephant's head from Route 302).
Mt. Jackson is considered one of the easier New Hampshire four thousand footers and its beautiful summit views (when weather allows), convenient location and short mileage make it a popular place to hike.  Today was no exception; we saw dozens of people heading toward this peak.  Even on a view-less peak, the rock scrambles make for a fun morning!