On this hike we decided to go for a one of the bigger mountains: Mount Jackson at 4052 feet in elevation. On a hot Sunday, we parked just south of the Crawford Depot on Route 302 at the head of Crawford Notch State Park in NH, where the Webster-Jackson Trail begins. We skipped the Elephant Head Trail, thinking that it would make a nice short walk some other day and continued heading up trail. At the Bugle Cliff trail sign several people had written stuff like “Worth it!” “Check out the view!”. It sounded impressive so we took the short spur trail to this view point. The view was rather neat and for such a short hike up to this point it is worth a look. However, more impressive views await you if you continue to the top.
There were several groups of people hiking in both directions on this trail. Unfortunately, a “clickity-clack” let us pass him but then we had to listen to him for close to a mile staying right behind us. A “clickity-clack” is our term for someone that uses hiking poles. Not that we are against people using poles, but the “clickity-clack” noise of the poles on the rocks interrupts the quietness and is not our favorite thing to listen to. Also, it kind of seemed like this guy was trying to keep up with our pace which meant it felt like he was chasing us with his “clickity-clack” poles. We pushed hard to put some distance between him and us.
The Webster-Jackson Trail has some very steep and rocky sections, but this means that it is a short hike to the summit. If you hike this, be ready to step-up for almost two miles. Near the summit, the trail is on ledge and would be quite dangerous in the rain. Andrew led the way up, a little fearful of the long slide down. Despite being a patch-carrying member of the 4,000 footer club and an avid mountain climber, he becomes terrified on steep exposed ledges and tends to rush his way to eventually find cover.
The summit was windy and wonderful. The heat and humidity didn’t have a chance at 4,000 feet of elevation. We found a spot tucked away amongst the stunted fir and spruce and enjoyed the first rate view of Mount Washington. The wind quickly forced us to put on long-sleeves since our backs were soaked in sweat from the hike up.
Instead of just heading back down, we decided to hike the Appalachian Trail south to the summit of Mount Webster. The Webster Cliff Trail had several ups and downs but was mostly protected in the forest until we made it to the summit.
From the Webster summit we took the Webster Cliff Trail which reunites with the Webster-Jackson Trail. Just before the junction with the Webster-Jackson Trail is a wonderful waterfall and pool: Silver Cascades.
We hiked the last mile back down to Route 302 and spotted a red fox walking up the road. Since it was late Sunday afternoon we were one of the last cars in the parking area. For one of the big mountains, Mount Jackson is relatively easy – although be ready for a steep uphill climb and watch out for the “clickity-clacks”!