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Mt Clinton Trailwork, Mt Jackson
August 27, 2009

Route: Crawford Path, Mizpah Cutoff,
Mt Clinton Trail, Webster Cliff Trail,
Webster-Jackson Trail
Elevation: Mizpah Springs Hut - 3800 ft
Mt Clinton trailwork - 2820-3800 ft
Mt Jackson - 4052 ft
Vertical Climb: 3772 ft
Distance: 9.3 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

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 home.

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 way again.

Clearing a large blowdown. This tree fell directly onto and parallel with the trail so that it would be difficult for someone who was unfamiliar with the trail to figure out its direction at this point. In the After picture, the trail goes just to the left of my orange blow saw.



Self-portrait on the Mt Clinton Trail. Unlike my previous trip in June, there were no blackflies bothering me this time.

Yellow flowers along the trail. I'm not quite sure what these are. Someone suggested that it might be bush honeysuckle.

Mt Clinton Trail. At this point, the trail parallels a brook on a bluff about 15 feet above it.

Spruce grouse on the Webster Cliff Trail. I had a hard time getting a good picture because the grouse wouldn't stand still for long.

Mts Washington and Eisenhower from the bog just north of Mt Jackson.

Closeup of Mt Washington from the bog just north of Mt Jackson.

Mt Jackson from the bog bog just north of Mt Jackson. These bog bridges were newly built in 2007 but are already sinking in several places.

Looking north from the Webster Cliff Trail on Mt Jackson. The lower peak in the center is Mt Pierce. Mizpah Hut is visible as a small tan square on the near side of Mt Pierce just above a branch of the tree at left center.

Looking down a steep portion of the Webster Cliff Trail just below the summit of Mt Jackson.

Mt Jackson summit cairn.

Self-portrait on the summit of Mt Jackson. Behind me, in the distance, is Montalban Ridge.

Looking up a steep portion of the Webster-Jackson Trail just below the summit of Mt Jackson.

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