Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Gridding Out Jackson

Summit: Mount Jackson
Trail route: Webster-Jackson Trail and Jackson Branch
Trail conditions: Well packed trail to the summit from snowshoes, chewed up trail on the way down from groups in microspikes coming up but no postholing
Weather: Frigid temps, bright blue sky and sunshine
Total miles: 5.2 RT
Total time:  3:34

A frigid day was in the forecast so I was looking for a short hike with a short drive. Mount Jackson was on my list of hikes that I wanted to do this month and it was both a short drive and a short hike with spectacular views. I thought this would be a good hike for the frigid temps that I would be exposed to. It would be my 12th time to this summit and complete my goal of hiking Mount Jackson in every month of the year.

As I was loading up my car it was very cold. It was early and dark and cold. I was taking my time driving to the trailhead hoping the sun would come up and start to warm up the temperature. That was not going to happen. Due to no cloud cover radiational cooling was in place causing frigid temps. When I passed by Mt. Clinton Road I noticed it had not been plowed out due to the government shutdown therefore no cars were able to get into that parking area.

I was glad to see that the Webster-Jackson parking area across from the trailhead was plowed out. I arrived at the trailhead to a temperature of -18°F as displayed by my car. Yes, that's negative 18! There was a breeze blowing adding an extra bite to the cold. I was really taking my time getting ready and adding appropriate layers. I literally had to force myself out of the car. Other hikers that started their hike before me were wearing snowshoes so I put mine on at the car and used them the entire hike.

The trail was well packed down and an easy snowshoe hike. I had started with a down jacket over a couple of Under Armour layers but was soon sweating so swapped the jacket for a fleece pullover and hard shell jacket. This was the perfect combination as I continued my hike. The trail continued to be in great shape all the way to the summit thanks to the hikers before me that were wearing snowshoes.

I arrived on the summit to a slight breeze and full sunshine in a clear blue sky. First order of business was to add my down jacket before walking around the summit. Views were spectacular. As I was taking my usual photos and videos the gray jays arrived. I absorbed the moment of having now been up on this summit in every month of the year. I didn't stay long and was soon on my way back down.

There were many hikers on their way up as I was going down. Some groups of hikers were wearing just microspikes and really chewing up the trail. Although there was no postholing the snow was really loose and unconsolidated, much more so than when I was hiking up. I'm not complaining but merely observing the difference in trail conditions.

After three hours and thirty-four minutes I was back down at the trailhead. Even in full sunshine and almost noontime it was still very cold. When I checked the car temp it was 10°F. I don't mind saying that it felt nice to get in the car and turn on the heat.

This was the the third summit that I have done in every month, the other two being Mount Waumbek and Mount Pierce. I have a few more summits that I would like to complete this year.

Even with the cold temps it was great to get outside today and enjoy a winter hike. I look forward to more winter hikes but maybe not as cold!

Enjoy the photos and videos!

A frigid start

The hike starts here

A cold sun shines through the trees at the Bugle Cliff spur trail

Frosty tree against blue sky

Arriving at the trail junction

Snowy trail

Snow saddle

Summit can be seen through the trees

Hiking up through snow encased trees to reach the summit

Arriving at the summit

I've now hiked to Mount Jackson in every month of the year

Gray jay enjoys full sunshine

Wispy clouds pass by Mount Washington

Mizpah Hut

A perfect view of the southern Presidential summits
Two Jays a-sittin'

Mount Chocorua

Mount Pierce

Mount Eisenhower

Summit cairn on Mount Eisenhower

Mount Monroe

Mount Washington

Zooming in on the summit of Mount Washington

Mount Webster

Mount Carrigain

Willey Range

Snow encrusted krummholtz

Who you lookin' at?

Mount Webster

Mount Carrigain

Framed Willey

Following the trench

Gray jay meets me at the trail junction

Sign sitter

Looking up on the way down

Back at the trailhead

Mt. Clinton road parking lot is not plowed out

Presidential summits against blue sky

A parting shot of Mount Washington

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

No comments:

Post a Comment