Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jackson -- April 1, 2015

We had a wonderful time speaking to the full house at the REI store in Rockville, Maryland last Sunday evening!  Thank you all for coming.  We enjoyed meeting you!!  It was especially nice speaking with the two young ladies sitting near the front row...the two sisters, you know who you are (I didn't ask your permission to name you on this blog, so I won't right now).  Young ladies, hike on -- maybe we'll run into you this August when you visit the White Mountains.  To the mom of those two girls -- kudos -- you deserve huge props for facilitating your daughters' adventures.  I know how much work and planning go into those trips.  You're awesome.

Webster-Jackson Trail, 5 miles round trip.

I know -- we were just here a week ago!  We had only a few hours to spare this week -- both the girls had a ton of schoolwork and both had final exams in their middle school science courses (we homeschool, but the girls have different classes with different in-person and online accredited's more of a buffet-style public/private-school education than strict homeschooling).  We also hadn't made arrangements to have our dog boarded for the day...and there was a wind chill warning in effect for the higher peaks.  Those three factors combined meant our weekly hike had to be a) close to home, b) mostly below treeline, and c) something we could knock out in three and a half hours or less (so the dog wouldn't be left unattended at home for too long a time).  Tecumseh is usually our go-to mountain (we live fifteen minutes from the trailhead), but we are getting a little tired of that peak for now (both girls have done Tecumseh at least seven times).  Hence Jackson.

I realize I have far too many parentheses in the paragraph above...oh well, parentheses happen (I prefer a more casual style of writing for blogs anyway...blogs that try too hard to be "literary" feel pretentious to me...blogs are casual and should therefore read that way...just my opinion, of course).

The day was COLD...much colder than our Jackson day last week.  We paused for a second to take this photo and throw on our snowshoes, then we moved moved moved and didn't stop until we got past the halfway point.  After chugging some water at said halfway point, we continued until we were right below the final that point, we stopped to layer up before rising into the biting and pushing wind.

Quick photo at the trailhead before our ascent

The trail was packed, with a bit of drifting near the summit.
We wore snowshoes all day, but we could have easily gotten away with microspikes.

Sage draws something in the snow while I take a quick chug of water.

Jackson's summit, seen from a couple tenths of a mile away.

Quick photo on the summit -- the wind was so cold that I could not
keep my hands out of my gloves for more than a few seconds...this photo was
taken with haste, so my apologies if it's blurry.

One of the signs had been shoved over by the wind.
It was too cold for me to take the time to right it.

We had to stand with our backs to the wind to protect our exposed faces.
We spent less than two minutes on the summit...otherwise, I would
have insisted on the donning of goggles and face masks.

Back at the trailhead after a fast and furious butt-slide descent.
We have a party to attend this Saturday, and Sunday is Easter...this means next week's hike will be on a weekday again.  I will reserve a kennel space for our dog, and hopefully there won't be a wind we should be able to hike something longer and above treeline.

It was a good hike up Jackson, though -- no real complaints.  We hadn't yet hiked Jackson in the month of April.  Alex and Sage are probably two years away from completing half the White Mountains Grid, so at least they can count this hike toward that goal.  After they finish a half-Grid, they may decide to go after the rest of the Grid...though I am always hesitant to declare any of Alex and Sage's long-term hiking goals as I never want them to feel locked-in to doing anything regarding hiking.  They both come to me with their plans and ideas, but I feel if I declare anything like it's set-in-stone, then they'll start to feel like they "have" to hike...and I never want that to happen.  So far, I think I've done a pretty good job making sure their hiking lists/goals have always been challenging, but fun, ideas, and not something they ever "have" to do.  I want to keep it that way, so for now, I'll say that both are interested in doing more rounds of the NH48, and both feel they may as well do those rounds during different months of the year.  I am fairly certain they'll complete half the Grid without ever really trying, simply by hiking every week on a casual basis over the years (as we've done for the past seven years).  If they eventually choose to go after the entire Grid, cool, and if they don't, then that's equally cool....all hiking is good hiking, no matter how many official peaks you do or do not cross off.  Also, I don't know if we realistically have time to do the Grid before the girls leave for college anyway.  Both girls are extremely ambitious with the hiking plans....however, both are also extremely ambitious with their academic plans (and their schoolwork must always come first), and both are heavily involved with a slew of other extracurricular activities, all of which they both adore.  So...we'll see.

Happy Easter, everyone.  Hope to have a trip report of something besides Tecumseh, Cannon, or Jackson next week.  :)

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