Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mt. Jefferson via Caps Ridge Trail - Hiking

Mt. Jefferson (5,712ft)
Trail: Caps Ridge Trail
Elevation Gain: 2,708ft
Distance:  5 miles roundtrip
Duration:  5.5 hours (includes stops along trail and at summit)
The Terrifying Twenty Five List: Caps Ridge Trail
Difficulty: Strenuous
Danger: Medium to High (exposed/steep sections, rock scrambling)
Rock Scramble: Class II

This hike was originally scheduled for a Saturday but was moved to Sunday due to high temps. I had booked motel reservations to stay overnight in Jefferson Village and was able to move my reservations without any penalty fees. I stayed the night at the Skywood Manor - its a family-run business, out of a large converted farmhouse. Out back there is a pond well-stocked with Rainbow and native Brook Trout. A brook, the barn and a large vegetable garden were perfect for an evening photo shoot. The evening was tranquil and the sunset was amazing! 





In the morning I had a home-cooked breakfast of egg, sausage and  wheat toast in the large diningroom with the owners and other inn occupants. From our table I could watch the Hummingbirds at the feeders. After breakfast I went down to the pond to watch the trout get fed.

I took a drive to The Caps Ridge Trailhead the day before the hike - just wanted to make certain that I could find the trailhead. The trailhead is at an elevation of 3000 feet, the highest trailhead in the Whites! The trailhead was easy to find and 30 minutes from my stay. The morning of the hike I packed my pickup, checked out and headed to the trailhead to meet the rest of the folks. This hike was part of the 4 Seasons Hiking Meetup group and Kate K. was the organizer.

The trail left the parking lot and crosses several wooden bridges over wet areas. 



After a mile the trail reaches several large boulders with potholes that serve as a lookout point. Our group stopped here for many photos!

A view of the "Caps" from the lookout boulder
I meant to pack my camera away before scrambling up the caps, but the ascent 
in most places wasn't too steep and so I kept my camera out on the entire ascent.

The fun part - scrambling up the Caps!

Random shot of some guys having lunch
A trail well blazed
Tucker, a sweet boy we met on the trail 
 
Mt. Washington Observatory

Mt. Washington Observatory and Auto Road
 
At the summit
Mt. Adams from the summit of Mt. Jefferson
At the summit our group rested for about 30 minutes. It was sunny the entire hike and the summit had mild, but cold winds. On the descent I packed my camera away and used my trekking poles. Even though I have already peak-bagged Mt. Jefferson (read about my first hike to the Mt. Jefferson summit here), it was fun to ascend on the Caps Ridge Trail. The elevation gain is 2,700 feet in just 2.5 miles! And once above tree line, the views are spectacular! The trail was crowded but it was still fun to hike and every time I turned to look at the view below me (which was often), I was in awe!

No comments: