Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mt. Jackson - 12/21/2013

As the winter solstice (Dec. 21st) neared, I could hardly contain my excitement for the start of winter hiking, but the spirits were severely damped by an incoming ice storm that was set to arrive, literally within hours of the 12:11pm solstice.  I had my sights on trying for the 5 VT 4000-footers in a day from the solstice, but instead the incoming storm sort of got me down.  Something got me going though, and I figured "one is better than none."  At the last minute on Saturday morning, I was driving along with the caravan of light trucks heading north in preparation of the storm.  It was time to get this WINTER STARTED. 

It was a little slow getting up to Crawford Notch, where my plan was to hit Mt. Jackson and get the heck out of there before this storm came in.  There were a few cars at the trail head and a saw a familiar face headed down as I went up the trail.  The snow was a soggy mess.  I put on my snowshoes right away, and the conditions were just good enough to have them on, but the conditions were going down hill very fast.  It wasn't easy getting across the two small crossings which were quickly widening. The very last part at the top always has a little trick to it, and this time it was just getting some footing on the mix of rock, snow, ice, and dripping water.  I reached the summit of Mt. Jackson for the 6th time.  No one else was there, and I had a surprisingly super limited view for just a few minutes.  Then it was gone, and it started to sleet and I could sense the storm coming by the minute, so that was it, and I blitzed down and was home in decent time having got my winter hiking season started. 
Mt. Jackson Summit
Right off the bat, my hike plans for the winter were affected by the weather.  Another thing I realized on this first winter hike was the lack of photos and videos I took.  Same thing on the previous Belknap hike, where we battled deep snow and cold.  As I write this one now four weeks into winter, be prepared for short posts and fewer photos this winter.  The weather and conditions on the peaks of New England have been challenging, cold, and I have not had any views (except a couple of slithers on Jackson and Camel's Hump). In Maine & VT, I've already been tripped, battered, bruised, had gear broken, had to turn back, and more, so its going to be a tough winter.  Now that my plan is changing on a weekly basis, all I can say is that I'm sure as hell going to have a blast seeing what happens come mid-March.

Hike Stats
Trails: Webster-Jackson Trail and Jackson Branch
Distance: 4.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,353 ft.
Actual Book Time: 2:51
GPS Track: Garmin Adventures


  1. Looks beautiful up there even with an imminent storm brewing. Though surprisingly not a lot of snow by the looks of things. Would love to hike some of the New Hampshire trails someday!

    1. Hi David, the snow was melting fast on that day. There was a lot of snow the peaks during the winter of 2011, but I don't think the peaks have seen as much snow overall snow since. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Nice website and photos!