Let me start by saying that I am not doing the 4K-every-day "grid", but I know some people are, and you need to include February 29th if you do. Bruce Pfendler is working on two concurrently and when I bumpbed into him at the Highland Center he told me he was going to do Jackson and then Tom. Shortly thereafter, Mark, Val and Tim arrived and we headed up the well-traveled, but still slightly soft (all bets are off after last night's snowfall!) Crawford Path. We wore snowshoes the entire hike. After a fast start, we warmed up and settled into a comfortable pace - the temps were not much below freezing.
First views on the Crawford Path, Bretton Woods/Mount Washington Hotel
Today's trip was the first low-wind "Presie Day" in a while. Thank goodness my new boss understands I needed Jefferson through Jackson, and had an offer for Pierce and Ike with Jackson if the snow wasn't flying. As we approached treeline, the high, thin clouds filtered the sun offering cool lighting on the surrounding peaks and the snow monsters that lined the trails. There are some impressive drifts in this stretch, and some deep snow in the scrub between Pierce and Eisenhower. I looked down on Bretton Woods where my family was spending one of the NH school vacation days skiing.
On the Mount Eisenhower Loop, Views From The Top (Ike)
The breeze was just noticeable enough that I put on a wind-proof vest, but the hard shell stayed in my pack for the entire day. Ascending Eisenhower was tricky in a few spot since it is wind scoured with a few icy spots. We could still see all the way to Mount Mansfield, so the snow was at least some 75 miles away, or more. At the summit we had some congratulatory fist bumps, a few quick pictures, and then headed back down to avoid the slightly stronger breeze (I still would not say wind.) We met our first other hiker as he was coming down from Pierce and we were going up.
Views From The Top (Pierce), At Mizpah we made some friends
We took a break at Mizpah and played with the gray jays, siskins and crossbills. The Webster Cliff Trail was chewed up fairly good by folks without snowshoes. We encountered about a dozen people from Georgia all wearing rented plastic boots and crampons and without snowshoes, right below the Jackson summit cone. They sheepishly admitted they had gotten poor advice and wished they had rented snowshoes as well. Four pairs of snowshoes flattened the track back out, although I doubt it matters much now.
On the frozen bog, Mark, Val and Tim on Jackson
The track down from Jackson was in excellent shape and with some strategic butt slides, we made excellent time back to 302. On my way out, I surprised my family at Bretton Woods by hanging out between the quad lifts until I spotted them in line. We had some apres ski hot chocolate, and I came home while they stayed up there