Socked in on the Southern Presidentials

Date of Hike: 11/7/10

Edmands Path: 2.9 miles
Mount Eisenhower Loop: .8 miles
Crawford Path: 1.2 miles
Webster Cliff Trail: 2.6 miles
Webster-Jackson Trail: 2.6 miles
Route 302/Mt. Clinton Road: 2.4 miles
Total Miles: 12.5 (3,750 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions page

Trip Report:
- After a long and tiring hike on Saturday and with a promising forecast for Sunday I was hoping to head up Mount Eisenhower via the Edmands Path and turn north up to Monroe and Washington then head down the Jewell or Cog Tracks and hoof it back to my car. However the Presidential Range had other ideas for my hike!
- I was on the trail at 8am and although the Edmands Path has moderate grades I had an awful time trying to hike at my usual pace.  What made things worse was the Mount Washington Observatory forecast of "in the clear under increasingly cloudy skies" was missing the part about the big time undercast as my hike up the Edmands Path was in the clouds.
- Once I popped up above treeline and hit the Crawford Path/Eisenhower Loop I was greeted with a steady 30 mph wind out of the north, views of a couple hundred feet, and full winter conditions with microspikes on my boots.
- As I headed up the Eisenhower Loop I knew I would be changing plans.  Washington was in the clear but how far above the undercast it was I had no idea and knowing that there was a good chance I wouldn't have ran into anyone from Eisenhower to Lakes of the Clouds and heading two miles strait into the wind with low visibility was not a smart thing to do on a solo hike.  So I played it safe (or wimped out) and decided to head over to Pierce and Jackson for the day.
- Eisenhower summit at 9:45am, Pierce 10:35am, Jackson 12pm, finished 2:30pm.  Temps in the mid twenty's to low 30's, 30 plus mph wind out of the north, totally socked in views, snow and ice!
- Once I descended from Eisenhower I was shielded from the wind and started to warm up.  The trail between Eisenhower and Pierce ranged from icy, frozen mud, couple inches of snow, and rocks with ice where the microspikes came in really handy.
- I figured I'd start to run into people when I was around Pierce or descending to Mizpah Hut but still I saw no one!  When I arrived at Mizpah Hut I took a few pics and made a new friend (click here)!
- The hike over to Jackson was more fun than it normally is with all the snow and ice especially the section over the bog bridges through the alpine meadow.  With the low visibility and snow everywhere it made for a very eire and cool feeling.
- The finally climb up to Mount Jackson over the steep ledges was alot of fun but it became very cold once I was out in the open.  The wind was still a constant 30 mph out of the north with some really big gusts approaching 40 mph.
- I finally ran into people hiking up while descending from Mount Jackson.  I took a break at the Webster-Jackson fork junction to eat some food, shed layers, and remove my microspikes.  While zoning out I was startled by a guy coming up the trail asking if I had seen any "Yaks".  I thought I misheard him and he really said "tracks" but no he repeated "yaks".  I have no idea what he was talking about other than animals so I said "I saw Yax Tracks but no animal or people tracks!"...he said "mmm no yaks" and happily went on his way!
- The road walk back to the car on Mount Clinton Road went really fast.  I passed by two hunters with their hounds about to head into the woods and I was stunned to see more than a half dozen cars and a big group of people at the Edmands Path trailhead when I finished, there was not one car when I arrived this morning.
- Eventhough there wasn't a view to be had it was still a real fun hike in the Presidential Range and for better or worse from now until late April it'll pretty much be all snow and ice in the White Mountains!

Pictures: Click here for all pics

View from Mount Eisenhower Summit
 Crawford Path
 View from Mount Pierce Summit
Alpine Meadow on Webster Cliff Trail 

1 comment:

  1. I ran into that guy looking for "Yaks" as well!

    Great views from Jackson today huh! We stayed up there for about a minute and headed back down, that wind was terrible!