Monday, October 22, 2012

Jackson and Gray Jays - October 7, 2012

Waking up the day after a hard climb (and tricky, wet descent), we wanted something a little easier. The weather was for overcast with some clearing, but dry weather. So after talking things over a bit, we decided to head up the Webster-Jackson Trail to Jackson, and from there decide what to do.

We left a car at the Highland Center and took the other down the road to the Webster-Jackson Trailhead lot on the side of the road. We were even later today, not getting going until near 10AM, I think the latest I've ever started a hike before! Nice that it was a short day planned though. While gearing up, a guy stopped and got out of his car, pointing towards a moose right behind the railroad tracks behind the lot. We watched him for a while before he ambled off towards the Highland Center, and we began our hike. What a start to the day though!

On the way up, I made sure we took the 2/10-mile spur trail to Elephant Head, as I'd skipped it last time I was up this trail, and wanted to check it out on this nice fall day. It is a nice spot, and worth the short side trip.

We weren't fast, but we made decent time up to the awesome open summit of Jackson, where the cloud deck was at roughly 5000 feet, but with good visibility below it. We weren't the only ones enjoying the summit on this day, with several other groups scattered around. We hung around for a while, getting dive-bombed by one particularly aggressive gray jay, who kept trying to take the food form our hands as we were eating it. Boy they are crazy animals!

After a nice break, we opted to take a longer, but more gradual descent route by heading to Mizpah Hut, and then down the Crawford Path from there. This was a nice walk, and we had a nice short break in the hut too, which the guys thought was a cool spot (and the huts are fun, if a bit pricey). There isn't anything too crazy to tell about this hike, but it was a nice one, and the weather was nice, if a bit chilly early in the day. It was a nice weekend with friends, which we cut short at the end of the day (the plan was to stay and hike Monday too, originally) since the weather for Monday wasn't all that great-looking (and it turned out about as expected). Instead we had a nice day at my place in Massachusetts.

Peaks: Jackson (4052', NH4K)
Trails: Webster-Jackson Trail (Jackson Branch), Elephant head Spur, Webster Cliff Trail, Mizpah Cutoff, Crawford Path, Gibbs Falls Spur
Mileage: 7.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 2650 feet

At the Highland Center - Lower mountain West of Mt. Tom

Avalon and Tom

Willard - some day!

A moose!

Moose, dead center

Young male moose

He's had enough of these camera-toting humans, off he goes!

Down Crawford Notch from Elephant Head

Towards Highland Center from Crawford Notch

Elephant Head

Nice spot, Elephant Head is, for little effort

Someone has left this plaque near the Elephant Head ledges

Bugle Cliff overlook

Mount Tom across the notch

Nearing the top of Jackson

Webster, with Willey behind (and a steep, deep hole between!)

Carrigain off in the distance

South down Crawford Notch, Chocoura off in the distance left

Mizpah Hut on the side of Pierce, clouds just kissing the summit of Eisenhower

"Shockingly" Mount Washington is in the clouds...

Nice color on the Montalabon Range (Isolation, Davis, etc)

Now heading to Mizpah Hut

Gibbs Falls

Spillway along the Crawford Path

Actually 2.4 miles from this spot...2.6 from the trailhead

Now for some Frogger (crossing the highway)

Lots of leaves fell in 2 days, you can see where our tent was...

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