It had been a very rainy July, and our family
always goes on vacation for 2 weeks in August, so I wasn't able to get
back to work on my trail again until the last week in August.
On this trip, as expected, there weren't as
many blowdowns as on my last visit, but I still ended up clearing 10,
and one of them, a red spruce, was particularly difficult to remove. It
had fallen directly onto and parallel with the trail, obscuring it so
completely that anyone unfamiliar with the area would have had a bit of
trial and error to find the right way, especially since the trail just
beyond the tree was overgrown and needed some heavy brushing. Even I,
who'd been that way a number of times, had to give it a close look. The
portion of the tree that was blocking the trail was about 12 feet long,
and it was still green and heavy enough that I had to cut it into 4
sections. Also, there were quite a few branches still sticking out that
I had to cut away first before I could even get close to the trunk. It
was tiring work, but at least I wasn't being assaulted by millions of
blackflies like on my last trip here in June.
Beyond the cleared tree, there's a short
section of the trail that I find especially scenic. At this point, the
trail narrows appreciably as it parallels a small brook on a bluff about
15 feet above it and maybe a foot-and-a-half from the edge of the
dropoff. The sound of the running water below is relaxing.
After the day's work, I returned to the hut,
stashed my tools and in the basement, and decided to hike back via Mt
Jackson instead of Mt Pierce this time. Usually, I avoid Mt Jackson like
the plague, partially because I've had two difficult times route finding
on the summit cone in the winter, partially because it's a longer hike
back from the hut, and partially because I'm not all that fond of the
Webster-Jackson Trail. It always seems rougher and longer than expected.
Each time I go back is because I forgot just how rough and long it
really is. On the other hand, I rather like the stretch of the Webster
Cliff Trail between Mizpah and Mt Jackson. There's an interesting bog
close to the base of Mt Jackson, and a lot of bog bridges along the
trail that are fun to walk on.
Along the way, I saw a spruce grouse that was
hopping on and off the trail. I managed to take a picture but, because
the bird wouldn't hold still for long, it came out at bit blurrier than
I liked. Another problem taking their picture is that spruce grouse
blend in so well with the rocky root-covered surface of the trail.
Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to get a really good picture someday. After
all, I finally took a nice clear photo of a gray jay on the Mt Carrigain
observation tower in October 2009.
Just after passing through the bog, the trail
began to steeply ascend the Mt Jackson summit cone. There are some nice
views toward the north on the ledges along the way, and I took several
pictures of Mt Washington, Mt Pierce, and even the tiny Mizpah Springs
Hut on the side of Mt Pierce.
I didn't stick around the summit area for
long, but did manager to get a couple of decent pictures and a gulp or
two of water. It was windy and I was getting tired and ready to head
After descending the steep ledges along the
Webster-Jackson Trail, I did get another taste of just how rough and
long the trip back that way is. Maybe I'll remember and not return that