Now that the snow is gone, the weather is warmer, and mud season should be tapering off (but appears to be hanging on a bit), it’s time to head back to the White Mountains and hike some more of the 48 4,000-footers. Today, Lucy and I decided to tackle the Jackson-Webster Loop (of which only Jackson counts as one of the 48).
There were lots of rocks, tons of tree roots, several small water crossings, and copious amounts of mud. And it was awesome. The bugs weren’t so bad on the way up to Jackson, but on our way over to Webster they started buzzing around my head a bit. I started off the hike in long sleeves, but about halfway to the summit of Jackson I removed a layer and was just fine in a tank top (with bug spray on my arms). After sitting and eating a quick lunch at the summit, I got a little chilly and put the long sleeves back on. During the second half of the hike, I got pretty warm again but left the long sleeves on due to the bugs.
It was definitely worth it to take the 1/10th mile spur trail over to the craggy summit of Mt. Webster. Though we didn’t see any gray jays on Mt. Jackson, we saw one on Mt. Webster. Yes, we fed it. I’m kind of torn on that one – I generally don’t agree with feeding wildlife, but the gray jays are so used to it. Plus, they’re pretty harmless. It’s not like feeding a bear (which is NEVER a good idea – even unintentionally).
We didn’t see any other people until we reached the summit of Mt. Jackson – as I was climbing the last several yards to the summit, I noticed there was a guy climbing up behind me. Turns out he was first in line in front of three of his friends, and they were hiking across several of the peaks in the Presidential range, from Jackson to Washington. There was also another woman at the summit when we arrived there. We passed by several other hikers (and a couple dogs) completing the loop in reverse while on our way to Mt. Webster. And we encountered even more hikers in groups (and even more dogs) at the Mt. Webster summit and on our way back down.