Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mt. Jefferson (Castle trail) 6/27

On June 27 th Karin and I hiked the Castle Trail to the summit of Mt. Jefferson, this encompassed a 10 mile round trip with 4,200 feet of elevation gain, some tedious rock scrambles, a damp/slick trail below tree line, warm calm weather above tree line which included a swarm of hornets on the summit and great views.

A rough sketch of our route, annotated (red line) via google earth clicking on the picture will provide a more detailed look.

The first 1.3 miles were easy going on a smooth trail, with the exception of crossing the Israel River, which went smoothly for us as the water was not too high.

Further into the hike trail became rough, and with recent rainy weather there were many slippery roots and moss covered rocks to contend with. Which always presents a greater issue on the decent...

Steeper climbing after passing the intersection with the Link Trail.

Just over 3 miles in we encountered our first scramble, to the sides we had a few hand and foot holds and made the accent without incident.

Once clearing the above scramble we reached a nice vista.

Not having hiked this trail before, I thought we'd "topped" the first "castle" but that was not the case... as Robert Plant once sang "scrambled on".

The first Castle from just above the first scramble, and the rim of Castle Ravine to the left.

The view south west toward the Pemi Wilderness, I heard a Bicknell's Thrush call from this area. The scenery was even more impressive once atop the castles, with views toward the Pemi Wilderness and Mt. Waumbek and the Pilot Range.

Karin making good progress above tree line, The Castles, large rock outcrops are below along the ridge stand some 20 feet high. The trail tavels right over them in a few spots, making for a dramtic hike.
A close up of a "castle".

The view back down the "Castellated Ridge" as its known, with the Pilot Range including Mt. Waumbek and Star King on the horizon.

Alpine Azalea above tree line.

Still a long rocky trek to the summit at 5712'

The weather was warm and calm near the summit, allowing a swarm of hornets to move about freely! We touched the summit marker and moved away quickly for a snack before becoming the snack. View north to Mt. Adams as another hiker works his way through the rock pile.

Mt. Washington, the Great Gulf , Mt. Clay (front and center), Mt Monroe (right Horizon), the Lake of the Clouds AMC hut is between Washington and Monroe.

Working our way back.

Approaching the ridge.

Looking deep into the Castle Ravine a new slide could be seen, from an apparent avalanche a few Winters ago.

Yet another photo of the ridge, Bowman Mountain is the flat topped hill well below and the Pilot Range on the Horizon.

We found this Moose Jaw at 4200 feet elevation.

The view from the trail head in Bowman, it was very special to end the hike being able to

see our "ridge walk" route. A few deer passed close by.

Tired feet, enjoying some "Grape Soda", Crosby, Stills and Nash and view up the Castllated Ridge to Mt. Jefferson.

We'd seen the above truck in Tamworth on the trip north, and snapped this shot on the way back, this struck us as being obscenely funny.........even more hilarious was finding this while "gassing up" on rte 1 in Saugus, Ma.







We found this "guy", about 10' tall in Saugus, Ma. , would appear to be worth perhaps 500 bucks?

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