Monday, September 12, 2011

Webster & Jackson 9-11-11

What a beautiful day it was to be in the mountains yesterday, but it was also a day with signs here and there that the season is about to change. Me, my brother and his daughter Kiara were on the trail at 7:45am, and we started a Webster-Jackson loop with a twist to attempt to find my lost camera near Jackson. Yesterday was also 9/11, so Flags on the 48 was taking place, and we were excited to be seeing that take place.

It was a chilly 38 degrees as we pulled into Crawford Notch and started up the trail. The beginning of the continued road block on 302E was right next to the parking lot at Crawford Depot. The striking view from Bugle Cliff had us in good spirits motivating us up the trail with the anticipation of greater views to come.
View of Saco Lake and Highland Center from Bugle Cliff
We came to the junction for the two branches of the Webster-Jackson Trail and could hear the waterfall on Silver Cascade Brook roaring just below us. Our route was taking us that way, so we ascended into the steep gully and arrived at in my opinion, one of the prettiest trail side waterfalls I've seen in the White Mountains.

For a short and easy loop on paper, parts of the ascent up to Webster had some steep sections reminiscent of the Garfield Ridge Trail (rocky, rooty, and wet), which kept me happy.
Webster-Jackson Trail to Mt. Webster
When we finally approached the summit, the views were tremendous into Crawford Notch. Kiara was happy to be there and was in awe of how far below and beyond she could see.
View from Mt. Webster 
The Webster Cliff Trail between Webster and Jackson was a breeze. Jackson's rocky summit was in our sights as we approached, and it felt like it didn't take long before we were there. Kiara reached her 2nd 4000-footer, and Bill his 33rd. Don't worry, I checked off on a few lists too. The Presidentials loomed over, looking so close, but Washington's summit remained chopped off by the clouds.
Kiara on Mt. Jackson
On a hot first of May, the melting snow and a stray path led me off the trail into thick scrub off the Webster Cliff Trail, and I lost my camera and gorillapod tripod. An attempt to find my camera was unsuccessful. That is because when the snow was melting that day, it was still so deep, and today, the trees were just so thick. I really could not pinpoint any exact path I may have taken, so it would have been a complete miracle, but we made a solid effort getting scratched to heck for over an hour, and we had some lunch in a cool off trail spot where I once stood aggravated as heck and nearly lost.

We trekked back up to the summit of Mt. Jackson where the American flag was erected for the Flags on the 48 event to remember 9/11. Bill and I carried our own American flags on our packs. Although not officially involved in bringing the big flag up to the summit, it was great to be up there to share our remembrance and enjoy a great day in the mountains. There were dozens of hikers of a wide range of ages enjoying the summit and we could see the flag standing on Pierce, which was cool. I chatted with a hiker from Rhode Island who was marveling in the day and event and we shared some hike ideas, wish lists, and some good routes to take along what we could see. He was on the very summit he sat 10 years ago on that day in 2001.
Sharing my personal flag effort with theirs for a Flags on the 48 photo
The wind was whipping pretty good as we descended the steep Jackson Branch off the summit and into the trees. The hike down was long and tough for the little legs, but we made it. Once we did, and we were off in the car, all three of us felt great and thought about the day, well me and Bill did because she was out like a light until we got back to camp. This was a very rewarding trip, and the views were better than I expected. I enjoyed it more because I was so darn aggravated the time I lost my camera. It was an easy, great, and special day.
As always, live life on the edge!
A couple of side notes to this fun trip:
We saw a big moose on 93, many turkeys (in their waning days) on 302, a blue herring on route 3, 2 different caterpillars, a garter snake, gray jays, and many many different colors and kinds of mushrooms.

Not only did we see the the American flag standing on Pierce, but on the way home, as we looked up to the cliffs on Cannon, someone had erected an American flag wayyyy off the summit near the edge of the highest cliff on Cannon...that was pretty sweet, whoever did that is pretty crazy, but worth the effort for the occasion!

Hike Stats
Trails: Webster-Jackson Trail (Webster Branch, Jackson Branch), Webster Cliff Trail
Miles: 6.5
Elevation Gain: 2500
Book Time: 8:15

To view the full album click on the slide show below:


  1. Awesome pictures and report! That loop looks a lot different without snow.

  2. Thanks Owen, it was an awesome day. ALOT different. Thinking back on my previous hike, it was May 1st and there were still feet of snow (especially between Pierce and Jackson, as Eisenhower protruded from most of the snow then); which goes to show how much of an insane winter we had, especially the mountains had.