Hiking/Trekking Jeanne & Peter



Posted on July 9th, 2012
by PeterD in Hikes

We continue to be blessed with outstanding weather for our hiking adventures.  This hike proved no exception.  The day before had been hot and very humid, but today dawned with a cloudless sky – breezy, but low humidity.    For this hike, both Kara and Kristin joined us for an overnight stay at the Highland Center (in Crawford Notch).

The Center is a beautiful building, right in the northern part of Crawford Notch, with a big expansive field in front, flanked on both sides by mountains – the Wiley Range to the West and the Southern Presidential range to the east.  The accommodations are really nice, but it’s a bit pricey :-(

Our plan was to leave from the Highland Center and follow the Webster-Jackson trail, splitting off at the Jackson branch to Mt. Jackson, then follow the Webster Cliff Trail (also the Appalachian Trail) to Mt. Webster, and finally descend via the Webster branch, returning to where we started.

We got our first views about 1/2 way up the Webster-Jackson trail while heading toward Jackson.   In the photo below, you see the Highland Center just left of center, with Saco lake in the foreground, and in the far distance, you can barely make out the Mt. Washington hotel – looking northward through from ‘the notch’, just right of the Fir in the foreground.  The views definitely did not disappoint:

First views from Jackson branch

From there, much of the trail was in the woods, a steady climb, but nothing too strenuous.    Near the Jackson summit, the going got a bit steeper, and included a bit of a scramble up some rocks.  Nothing quite like the “bit more sporting” route we’d taken across Mt. Adams, but still a bit of a scramble.

But it was worth it, the views were great – according to the texts, there’s 30 of the 4000 footers visible from Jackson.  While Mt. Washington and the northern Presi’s were in a bit of clouds, all of the other peaks were visible (no, sorry, we couldn’t name them all!).  In this photo, Eisenhower is just left of center, and the Mitzpah hut is that white speck amidst all the green!

From Jackson Summit looking north toward Washington

From Jackson, it was an easy ridge walk to Webster.  Webster isn’t part of the 4000 list, it’s only 3910′, but we didn’t want it to feel left out!    It was about noon when we arrived at Webster, so we took some timeout for a lunch break.  The wind had picked up, so we had to find a bit of shelter – easy enough, the peak is not quite above the treeline…

From there, it was all downhill, first by the Webster branch of the Webster-Jackson trail, then retracing our steps when it rejoined the main branch – the stick of the lollipop.    We got a few nice breaks along the way – some “watering holes”:

All in all, it was a fairly easy descent from Mt Webster back to the Highland Center.  Nothing too strenuous, and only a little “back-sliding” down a few rock faces.

On the return, and just before coming out of the woods, we took a quick detour off the main trail to see “Elephant Head” – a big outcropping just south of Saco Lake and providing excellent views both north and south through the Notch.  Well worth the detour (and would be a great kids hike from the Highland Center – probably a mile round trip).

On our quest for the 48 four-thousand footers, only a single 4000′ today, but yet another good day out.   It was great to have Kara and Kristin along as hiking buddies to share our good time and some great outdoors!


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