View Full Version : Belated 4th of July Trip Report - Mounts Jefferson and Adams

KD Talbot
07-10-2008, 11:00 AM
Sorry about the late post. My website had some server issues which I hope are now worked out. In addition, I spent yesterday under the knife having a deviated septum repaired. If anyone is still interested in our hike on the 4th, here is the report:



Mount Jefferson 5716’, Mount Adams 5799’

12.2 Miles 5050' Elevation gain

Kevin, Tim Lucia and Larry Cohen

I knew I wanted to make this hike, but wasn't quite sure how I was going to pull it off. The prospect of getting up at 4am to drive to Bowman was really daunting. What puts me off is I rise at 5am everyday for work and on my day off getting up that early is not my first plan. Thanks to Mats and the folks at VFTT who had a plan to meet at Barne's Field where I was able to get a nice spot back in the woods. People turned in early Thursday night as they had big plans, a Presidential traverse, in mind for Friday, the Fourth of July. I got a pretty good nights sleep, despite a Barred Owl who landed in a tree seemingly right over my tent and began his "Who, who, who cooks for you?" call. This only lasted 15-20 minutes and then he must have moved off because I could still hear him, but much further away. Next morning I could hear folks getting up and preparing for the traverse, so I tumbled out of the tent and wished them luck, checked the time, and actually got to go lie down again for about a half hour. Then it was time to get up, so I broke camp, packed up and headed off to Bowman with a quick stop at DD's for coffee. I got there plenty early and managed to get a little more shut eye before Larry and Tim showed up. This was working out great, thanks, Mats! By 7:20 we were on the trail and it seemed that we had knocked off the first 1.3 miles in about 10 minutes. On the Castle Trail we were soon at the junction with the Israel Ridge Trail that we would descend by. There is a steep climb from here up to the shoulder of Bowman. The trail doesn't cross the summit, but there are some obvious herdpaths in that direction. I was surprised to see that there is a nice long flat section through luscious woods before reaching the junction with The Link. The trail sign has been altered to read "The Dink", indicating how many feel about this trail. From here there is a steep climb which includes wet slabs up to the Castles. This would make a great climb in itself if you just wanted to climb to somewhere with great views to have some lunch. We stopped for a bite to eat and a little rest while we took in the views and the bluebird day it was turning out to be. The Castles themselves are quite interesting rock formations, very narrow, which put me in mind of "The Knife-edge" on Katahdin, although on a much smaller scale. Somewhere around here I made the comment that Jefferson was a tough mountain to climb because it has many false summits, you climb to a ridge and expect to be getting closer, then when you crest the ridge you see you still have a long way to go. Well, this proved true as we crested the next ridge and Tim turned around and said something along the lines of, "You were right, I can see ahead now, and it's very discouraging." When I caught up to him I looked and I'm sure I let out an audible groan. The talus fields between us and the summit looked insurmountable, but I knew I'd get through it. It's amazing to me, the vast fields of jumbled, shattered rocks that make up the Northern Presidentials. Well, onward and upward and eventually I was able to make out that the people on the summit of Jefferson were the VFTTrs that we had hoped to meet on their traverse. Someone, with their best Boston accent, shouted down, "Hey Kevin, how you doin'?" and I felt right at home as I scrambled the last few feet up to the summit. We had another break with more food and Larry gained points by passing around some Girl Scout cookies. Mats and Co. all looked very patriotic in their Uncle Sam paper hats and paraphenalia, worth the climb just to see. There were 17 of us on the summit, but we soon parted ways as they still had a long day ahead of them. Then there were just the 3 of us again, though some others came along. We were soon headed down and north along the Jefferson Loop on our way north to Edmand's Col and beyond to Adams. Along the hike above treeline there were lots of flowers to see including Mountain Cranberry, Three-toothed Cinquefoil, Mountain Sandwort and in Edmand's Col I saw my first Mountain Avens of the season. We also passed a lush slope covered in Indian Poke. Soon we were crossing ridges again, well on our way to Mount Adams. There was Labrador Tea in bloom and great abundance as we climbed. We soon reached the huge cairn at Thunderstorm Junction and continued the short climb from there to the summit of Adams. This summit was less crowded than Jefferson for obvious reasons. The real crowd was the insects. All manners of flying insects to swarm and annoy, mixed in with beautiful metallic shelled beetles of a myriad colors, very interesting. We spent less time here as we were all a little pooped and wanting to get some trail behind us on our way out. The trail down was pretty easy going and the Israel Ridge Trail was nicely graded above treeline. I was glad that Tim had the maps along as there are so many intersections that even with the maps we occasionally had to stop and decide on what direction to take. It was nice to step back into the shade of the trees, although the trail became much rougher and quite steep on the descent. Just below a spot where the trail crosses Cascade Brook there is a wonderful rock slab where the brook cascades down with many pools and drops. Beautiful spot. Along the trail it was interesting to find early spring flowers such as Goldthread, Starflower and Clintonia in early blossom. The trail descended steeply, with an occasional ladder to assist until finally we came down to where we crossed the brook again and reached the junction with the Castle Trail. From here it was by comparison, a flat, level hike out of the woods on a wide, smooth path. It was a great loop, though quite tiring for myself, and I would only recommend it to those who are experienced in travelling across rough, talus strewn trails. Thanks Tim and Larry for dragging me along on this one !

Complete set of pictures here:



07-10-2008, 08:29 PM
Excellent pictures. Looks like a gorgeous day. Thanks for sharing.


07-11-2008, 07:43 PM
We've not done either of these yet, but they're on this summer's list! I hadn't thought of doing them together. I'll need to pull out the maps and take a look at your route. I think it looks HARD judging by the pictures. ;)

I love the wildflower and fungus pics!! (Actually, Debi takes LOTS of fungus pictures when we hike)


Caffeine Addict
07-11-2008, 09:25 PM
great pics looks like you all had a good time thanks for sharing your pictures


Steve M
07-12-2008, 08:37 AM
Those were great. Amazing how many people are on those summits almost daily.

07-13-2008, 10:16 AM
awesome pictures! Looks like you had great weather too!

07-13-2008, 04:06 PM
that puts me off is I rise at 5am everyday for work and on my day off getting up that early is not my first plan.

I know what you mean. That's the worst part of any climb. I was reading a book about Mount Everest, and some of the climbers had to get up at 10:30 PM in order to make the summit and return. I thought it was bad at 4 am. :)

KD Talbot
07-13-2008, 06:02 PM
I've got to move closer to the mountains and get over this whole "work" thing.