Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, January 5, 2019

First Hike of 2019 to Mount Jefferson

Summit: Mount Jefferson (5,712')
Trail route: Jewel Trail, Gulfside Trail, Mt. Jefferson Loop
Trail conditions: There was loose, unconsolidated snow on the lower section of the Jewel Trail with mostly hard pack above treeline and occasional ice and rocks
Weather: Cool temps, calm to light winds, high cloud cover
Total miles: 11
Total time: 8:45

After watching the weather it looked like today would be perfect for a winter hike above treeline and to the Presidential summit of Mount Jefferson. I would be joining Jim for his final Winter 48 4,000 foot summit along with Jill, Mark, Larry and Marty. This would be a special hike as it's always nice to be there when someone completes a hiking list.

We decided to meet at the Ammonoosuc parking area because of the ten dollar parking fee (per hiker) at Marshfield Station even though it's an extra mile each way. The lot had not been plowed out from recent snow. Most cars had no problem getting into the parking area but with ice under the new snow there were a few that needed a little help in the way of a push.

Trail conditions were unknown as we saw no recent reports and there had been some light snow during the week. We started out in snowshoes even though the snow was not deep but  very loose and unconsolidated. Microspikes would've worked as there was no postholing but would probably have chewed up the trail. As we got above treeline the trail was well packed with a lot of rock exposure. It became necessary to swap the snowshoes for microspikes.

Up on the Gulfside Trail we began a gradual descent as we made our way north toward Mount Jefferson. After dropping down we then started a gradual to moderate climb up. We met many familiar faces along the way. We had seen Jason with a group of hikers, John with his Grid dog Pepper, then Adam with another hiker, Nate with another group and his dog Piper, and there would be more on the way back. There were a lot of hikers above treeline today who had paid attention to the weather forecast and took advantage of it.

We dropped our packs just below the Jefferson summit cone and walked on up. A breeze was blowing and it was cold but tolerable. Jim was now on his final 48 4,000 footer to complete his winter list. We stayed long enough for a few photos then dropped down out of the wind. After a nice break and something to eat we started the 5.5 mile hike back to the parking lot.

On the way down from Jefferson there were a few more familiar faces. We met Renee and her husband Brian and their friend Amy, then passed by Trish, Alex and Sage on their way up. As the trail leveled out we faced the ascent up the side of Mount Clay. We arrived back at the Jewel Trail and continued down to Marshfield Station.

Below treeline the trail was very loose snow and had not packed down at all during the day with all the hikers that had been on it. Snowshoes could've been worn but I continued with microspikes. As we got lower there was less snow and the trail was firmer. We took the spur trail out to Marshfield Station. The sun was setting and it was illuminating the high summits with a golden hue. The western sky was lit up with brilliant colors, a spectacular way to end a fantastic hike!

Congratulations to Jim for completing the Winter 48 4,000 footer list!

Enjoy the photos and video!

 Starting our hike

 Water crossing with a bridge

 Crossing the Ammonoosuc River

 Ammonosuc River

 Boundary Line Trail

 Jill crossing Clay Brook and leading the pack

 Clay Brook

 Marty heading up the Jewel Trail

 Mount Monroe in the distance

 Above treeline on the Jewel Trail

 Going up

 A view of the southern Presidential summits

 Coming up to the Gulfside Trail

 Mark on the Jewel Trail

 On the Gulfside Trail

 Ice-coated cairn

 Mark and Jim going down before going up again with Mount Jefferson in sight

 Heading up


Jill, Larry and Marty coming down the Gulfside Trail

 Lots of ice coated ledge

 Jill coming down through the vastness

 Icy rock steps

Mark and Jim waiting for the rest of us

Jim ascends icy rocks

Mark, Jill and Larry coming up

Marty talking to John with Pepper the Grid Dog

 Jill and Larry on the final ascent to Mount Jefferson

 SnowCoach heading down the Mount Washington auto road

 Jim standing on his final Winter 48 4,000 foot summit

 Jim on the summit of Mount Jefferson for Winter #48

 Mark on the summit

 Mount Washington

 A view toward Mount Adams

 Mount Adams

Jill and Jim toasting to Jim's Winter 48 completion

 Northwest view

 Ready to start our descent back to the parking lot

Familiar faces Brian and Renee with their friend Amy

 On our way toward Mount Clay

 Peering through the krummholz

 Franconia Ridge in the far distance

 A climb back up the Gulfside Trail to the Jewel Trail

 Bretton Woods

 Marty going up

 A look back to Mount Jefferson as Larry and Jill come up the Gulfside Trail

 Mount Carrigain

 Cog railway and Jacob's Ladder

A long hike down to Marshfield Station far below

 Marty hiking down the Jewel Trail

 The sun just about to come out before sunset

 Clay Brook

 Mark crossing Clay Brook

 Jim and Mark crossing a snow bridge on the Ammonoosuc River

Setting sun shining on Mount Washington


Amazing colors at sunset as we walk to the Ammonoosuc parking lot from Marshfield Station

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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