4000 Footer Club

Mt. Jackson
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Elevation:    4,052 Feet
Summited:  August 11, 2016
Weather:     Start - Mostly Sunny, 70's
                     End - Hot, Humid, Clouds, 90's
Distance:    6.7 miles (One Way) To Mizpah Spring Hut (3425 Feet)
Difficulty:    Strenuous
Views:         Many On The Cliffs
Route:         Webster Cliff Trail (AT) → Mt. Webster Summit → Webster Cliff Trail →
                     Mt. Jackson Summit → Webster Cliff Trail → Mizpah Spring Hut / Nauman Tentsite

   After parking at the Ripley Falls parking lot, three-tenths of a mile from Rte. 302, we started our hike along the Appalachian Trail towards the Mizpah Hut (1275 feet), some 6.7 miles away. Shortly after entering the woods, you cross a bridge over the Saco river, with a plaque next to it for 'AMC 4000 Footer Club'. Not long after that, the long steady climb to the top of Webster Cliffs begin. For the next two hours the trail steadily climbs up the southern end of Crawford Notch, to its first viewpoint at 1.8 miles. From here the grades are somewhat less and shorter in distance. Not to mention that excellent views to the valley below became more common and diverse in perspective. At 2.5 miles, a lookout that surveys the Willey House Site and the pond across the street can clearly be seen. About two and a half hours into the hike you come up upon a ledge where you will find and unofficial camp site, feet from the AT, a short distance from what we assumed was the summit of Webster. We met a hiker there, AKA Reek, AKA Stinky, who told us tales of losing utensils and water bottles, so I pounded the rest of my Gatorade and gave him my bottle. Little did I know we were eventual Nauman neighbors and I was now out of liquid. Continuing on, the trail keeps its strenuous style by keeping you climbing as well as hiking. At 3.3 miles the trail comes to an awesome ledge, where we find is the actual summit. Making us further behind. I was starting to think, have I totally miscalculated our arrival time. The climb over to Jackson was more of the same, really hard hiking, taking many breathers. This is when I realized I left my frozen water bottles in the cooler and kept the empties in my pack. So I started hiking with the front of the group, where I was at least able to take longer breathers. We all stopped at the summit of Jackson, where I was treated to fresh fruit, water and a peanut cluster by a friend who had his head on straight. It was here where I was scolded for discarding my orange peel to the ground from whence it came. I though the gray Jay, that was following the head of the group, would have been interested in a little zest and the bugs and worms would eat the rest. I mean, not a lot of stuff to eat up here. So, I kindly waited until he left and threw it back into the pine. The trail drops off steadily after the summit until it reaches an open Alpine grass meadow. At 5.2 miles, a long side path, on the right, shows an excellent view to the east. There the trail drops up and down for the last three quarters of a mile, where it meets up with the Mizpah Cutoff and shortly the Mizpah Spring Hut, where our campsite was located. But more importantly, water.