One Last Fall Hike . . . Mount Jefferson

Date of Hike: 12/20/16

Jewell Trail: 3.2 miles  /  Gulfside Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Mount Jefferson Loop: 0.8 miles  /  Gulfside Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Jewell Trail: 3.2 miles
Total Miles: 10.0 miles  (3,969 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 910XT

Trip Report:
- Tuesday morning Whitney woke up early and got on the road to meet up with Denise and Will, AKA 'Muffin' (PCT 2016), for a morning hike up Mount Jefferson.  I had to do a little work before I could escape and drive over to Base Station and hightail it up the Jewell Trail to catch up with them.
-  Luckily, having to work benefited me as I was able to 'vulture' up the trail they had broken making my ascent much easier than theirs.  They had to break through a few inches of crusty snow with several inches of powder beneath it, which becomes really draining.  Good news is the Jewell Trail has easy to moderate grades so even though it's tiring breaking it out it's not too difficult, still I was very happy to not have to break trail!
- Once breaking above treeline I soon ditched my snowshoes for microspikes as most of the snow above treeline is windblown and hardened, along with several icy spots.  The above treeline section of the Jewell Trail is a great spot with tremendous views in every direction, and with the high clouds and bright sun there were phenomenal views for the day.
- The Jewell Trail ends just below the summit of Mount Clay where the Gulfside Trail (A.T.) cuts across under the summit cone.  I banged a left here and within fifteen minutes I caught up to Denise, Whitney, and Will just past the Sphinx Col below a mini snowfield.  From here we headed up to Monticello Lawn and onto the Jefferson Loop Trail to the summit.  The wind was whipping at a steady rate above 5,000 feet so we were all bundled up but all stayed warm.  If I had to guess the temps were in the mid teens with a wind chill around zero, that along with sunshine mixed with high clouds and great visibility is a perfect day to be up in the Presidential Range between Late November through early April, as it's pretty easy to relegate your gear and stay warm at the same time.
- For the hike back to the car we just backtracked, along the way we ran into one hiker enjoying an afternoon hike up to Jefferson and another hiker descending the Jewell who probably wished he had snowshoes as he was post-holing horribly below treeline, even in our snowshoes we were sinking in at times.  Unlike last year, this year snowshoes are a must on a few of the trails right now.
- Hope everyone enjoys winter, be safe!

 Hiking up the Jewell Trail early in the morning

Heading through a scrub tunnel about to break above treeline

 Above treeline on the Jewell Trail, still had to use snowshoes for a few more tenths of a mile then switched over to microspikes

Looking across Burt Ravine over to Mount Monroe and Eisenhower

Just before reaching the trail junction with the Gulfside Trail

Pano of the Southern Presidential Range

Hiking over to Mount Jefferson along the Gulfside Trail

Mount Clay and Washington rising above the Great Gulf

Pano of the trail that heads down to Sphinx Col with Clay and Washington as the backdrop

What a beautiful view from Monticello Lawn

Bright sun shining high above on the last day of Fall

The broad flat Monticello Lawn, over there is where the Gulfside Trail skirts the summit cone of Mount Jefferson

 Monticello Lawn

Summit of Mount Jefferson and the view from the top

Mount Jefferson summit area

Sphinx Col and looking south westerly toward Brenton Woods

 Hiking back around Mount Clay

Hard packed snow above treeline made for easy hiking in our spikes

Denise makes her way up the trail

What a great place to be on a pretty tame weather day for above treeline

Got to hike with some pretty accomplished people today!  Tip-Toe (A.T. 2014 & PCT 2016) and Muffin (PCT 2016) 

 Descending the Jewell Trail

Mount Monroe under a beautiful early afternoon sky!

This is a unique view of Mount Monroe from a few hundred feet up the Cog tracks, you can also see Lakes of the Clouds Hut from this vantage point too

Base Station

Good ol' Pepperass and another antique cog relic

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