Trying to keep up with the ever changing weather forecasts (particularly above the notches) is sort of like trying to hit a moving target! Just an hour before our hike, Steve and I eventually settled on doing a mild-mannered trek to Mt. Jackson. From what we could gather, this area of the Whites seemed to offer a reasonable chance at getting some views on this particular day.
We got on the trail shortly before 10 AM and made good time up to Bugle Cliff. I might not have the story quite right, but I think this spot was so-named because of a quaint custom that used to be in place at the old Crawford House. From this cliff, a bugler would provide a "wake-up" call to the hotel guests. Here is a snapshot showing a modern day version of the bugler's view (except I doubt he bugled in the winter!)
Bugler's View from Bugle Cliff
With the brilliant white of the snow-laden trees contrasting against the deep-blue sky, it was a beautiful trek all the way to the summit of Jackson. At one point, the trail went through a tunnel formed by trees bent over from the snow load.
Caution! Low Clearance Tunnel Ahead
When we arrived at the summit, there was only a slight whisper of a breeze, but things above us were rapidly moving. Peaks would appear and disappear in the clouds which were constantly on the move from place to place. By playing a game of "peek-a-boo" with the clouds, we were eventually able to get the traditional shot looking up the southern Presidential Range toward Mt. Washington.
Traditional Winter View of Southern Presidentials from Mt Jackson
And, in between fluctuating cloud-cover, we were also able to work in some other shots, such as the Willey Range, and southward toward Chocorua.
However, for the most part, the peaks to the west of us remained in the clouds. Here is a snapshot looking westward over Mts. Willard and Avalon toward Mt. Tom.
Westward View Overlooking Mts Willard & Avalon toward Mt Tom
Of course, it's almost a given that on Mt. Jackson you'll get some nice Gray Jay snapshots.
Steve and I are rarely content to do just a simple "out & back" hike to a peak. So, to add a little something extra to our trip, we decided to break trail off the north side of Mt. Jackson and head about 0.4 mile down to the flat boggy area in order to get some slightly different views from there. When we arrived at the bog, there were no clouds whatsoever over the Presidential Range. Here is a photo taken from that location.
Southern Presidentials from Bog to the North of Mt Jackson's Summit
Although the Presidential view was impressive, it was equally impressive to see the gathering of snow sculptures created by none other than "Mother Nature" herself. Below is photo showing a typical gathering of these works of art.
A Congregation of Snow Sculptures
And, here is a close-up shot which shows the "facial-features" of these beautiful creations.
Close-Up Snapshot of Snow Sculpture's "Facial Features"
Another great day in the Whites!