Ladies' Weekend Mount Jackson
A frigid late start blue bird quickie
PeaksMount Jackson (4,052 ft)
TrailheadAMC Highland Center (just up the road from the trail start)
Total Distance5.81 miles, 2,738ft elevation gain
TimeStart: 11:36am, 3:02 Round Trip
WeatherVery cold and windy. Clear.
Trail ConditionsIcy stable monorail
Partners in CrimeLeah, Rye, and Blue
We really know how to pick ‘em: Ladies’ Weekend at the base of the Presidentials fell on the windiest day recorded atop Mount Washington in the last decade - 148 mph according to the Mount Washington Observatory. Plus, I had a cold and Anne wasn’t feeling 100% either. But, determined we were to get out after it, so we picked a fairly sheltered and short hike up Mount Jackson.
After a leisurely morning checking out of our hotel (The Glen House near Pinkham Notch) and a coffee + very delicious apple fritter at Frontside Grind, and even a little shopping around North Conway, we made our way to the AMC Highland Center for a summit bid in quite frigid conditions. Anne decided to stay warm and cozy with her book at the Highland Center while Leah, the pups, and I made our way up Mount Jackson — one of my favorite bang for your buck hikes. It’s just under 3 miles to the summit from the Highland Center parking lot and pretty straightforward. The crux, especially for a day like this, is final push. It’s quite steep and can get very icy in the winter, and it’s exposed to the elements. In fact, we met a woman at the Highland Center who hiked nearly all the way up Webster-Jackson before turning around with the summit in close reach because of the wind exposure.
But today was looking better than yesterday, and once on the trail, we were quite warm enough. Showshoes got a free ride as the trail was a very stable (icy) monorail after all the melt and freeze this week. Indeed the last push was very icy, but we chose to go around the official trail, following the footsteps of those before us through some shrubby stuff with better footing. We stayed just long enough to snap some photos of the super clear and sunny view, then back down to the trees and shelter from the wind and onto a straightforward and pleasant descent back to the Highland Center to conclude an excellent and mostly relaxing weekend away.
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