Hiking/Walk DATE: 07/23/2011 - 07/23/2011
Trip/Event Location: Bretton Woods, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Mt. Jefferson at 5,716 ft is an enjoyable hike if the weather cooperates. I particularly enjoy Monticello Lawn as it slopes away into the Great Gulf and Jefferson Ravine. The views across the Great...
I-93 to Rt. 3 to 302. Turn right on 302 and head east. Turn left onto the Cog Railway Base Road and park at the lower parking areas below Marshfield Station [there is a parking fee]. Do not park at the official White Mountain National Forest trailhead.
Weather conditions at the beginning were a little dreary but as the day progressed conditions improved tremendously! Not only did clear conditions welcome us above tree line but a sky full of lenticular clouds did as well, which is always a treat.
We went up the Jewell Trail, which is the most direct route and a wonderful trail with good grades and good footing. Of the northern and western routes to Jefferson/Clay, Jewell/Gulfside is probably the easiest way, even though it's significantly longer than Caps Ridge. There are no scrambles, and the grade isn't steep by Presi standards. However - and this is a big however - right now there is no reliable water between the crossing of Clay Brook at 2,900 feet on the Jewel Trail and Greenough Spring on the Gulfside Trail, and none again from the spring to the top of Jefferson, so carry lots and lots of extra. We did, and we used every drop.
We went up the Jewell Trail, which is the most direct route and a wonderful trail with good grades and good footing. The first views on the trail are from a blowdown at 3,600' (at right toward Mt. Washington), after which the trail becomes distinctly rougher. There are unofficial campsites at 4,200-4,300', just below treeline at 4,400'. Above treeline the views are continuous and fabulous. At 5,300' the Jewell Trail ends at the Gulfside Trail. There was a pretty good breeze which kept us cool.
Here we unexpectedly ran into Alex with two other guys who were on a 30-mile, 2-day AT traverse from Route 302 to Pinkham Notch. Nice to have seen you again Alex!. From the junction we scrambled directly up the rocks to Mt. Clay Loop.
We followed the Mt. Clay Loop to the summit of Mt. Clay where we had lunch. It has superb views into the Great Gulf. As we descended to hook up with the Gulfside Trail we unexpectedly ran into Scott who was doing a Presidential Range Traverse with a friend and Compass [his Jack Terrier]. This hike was turning into meeting up with long lost friends! Nice to have seen you again Scott!
We followed the Gulfside Trail to Mt. Jefferson and the wind was particularly strong at Sphinx Col. At Monticello Lawn, the tops of the grass had turned into an auburn color. With the strong wind, we enjoyed the rippling effect it created on the grass. Truly magical!
From the top of Mt. Jefferson we enjoyed views of the southern and northern Presidentials. We returned back to our cars using the Gulfside and Jewell trails. The after hike party back at my house included burgers, beer and soaking in the Mad River.
Thanks to all of those who participated in today's hike, it means a lot to Jon and I. We did not bring a camera so please upload the pictures taken.
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
HikerBiker Jul 27, 2011 at 7:39 PM
Comment: Thanks for a great day guys. I added my pics.
markmtn Jul 27, 2011 at 7:36 PM
Comment: Nice sunny day in the northern presidentiels. Didn't want to worry you guys about my mother ship in the background. We're landing in broad daylight now!