Mt. Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, Mt Monroe, & Washington
Type of Hike: Day
· Matt’s Gear:
- Base Layer: Mountain Hardware S/S Wicking T, EMS convertible Pants,
- Pack: Osprey Atmos 65 AG
Matt also carried: Patagonia Capilene 3, Patagonia Nano Puff Vest, Marmot PreCip Raincoat, Sherpa wool hat.
· Gear: Gabrielle
- Base Layer: Under Armour Tee, Under Armour Leggings, Smartwool Crews.
- Pack: Osprey Aura 50 2nd Generation
Notes: Today’s guest stars are none other than Alden Skidd and Brian Fletcher. Where to begin… hmm… let’s start off in Boston at Mike’s Donuts. Aww that sounds better. It is 5 am and we are on the road off to the Presidential Range with our dozen donuts! Our packs are full to the max and we are carrying weight! The plan is for an over nighter from Jackson to Madison. Starting off at the Highland Center and ending at Appalachia. We barely made it to Appalachia where the bus was meeting us to take us to the Highland Center. Thankfully half way to NH we switched drivers and Gabrielle got us there just in time. What can I say my girlfriend has a lead foot.
It is a beautiful day and we are heading up Jackson. Everyone is in great spirits and in a few short hours we are already on the summit. The view is outstanding and we can see across the entire presidential range. The plan is to head past Washington, go down a side trail out of the alpine zone and camp. I cannot begin to express how beautiful the AT trail is, every sight deserves recognition but we need to keep this short. We took a quick break at Mizpah hut for some baked goods and continued to Pierce. After Pierce it was another short break on Eisenhower. The views were still outstanding and we were able to get great camera shots of the Presidential Range. Crawford Path leading to Mt Franklin was breathtaking, as was the summit. It does not count towards our NE67 list but who cares, nothing beats being in the mountains with people you love. Then came Mt. Monroe which also offered some rewarding views as we gazed down upon Lake of the Clouds. At the hut we refueled and got a weather update…not good. We had known it was going to rain the next day, however, there was now a severe thunderstorm warning. No stopping there, it was getting late and we still had much ground to cover. We finally reached Washington a little past 6, I could be wrong with the time. Views were still outstanding but now it was decision time. A ranger on the summit was recommending that we get off the ridge because of the weather and would not recommend hiking the next day. What to do??
We are not going to talk about how we made the final decision but it was to go down Tuckerman’s Ravine. Ok let’s be honest, Gabrielle wanted to stick to the original plan but us guys were worried about the weather. In hindsight we were wrong and should have continued with our original plan to continue towards Adams and Madison. Tuckerman’s was t.o.u.g.h. tough, tough, TOUGH. Gabrielle and I had hiked Mt. Washington via Tuckerman’s back in 2010, however, it was dark and with the combination of weight we were carrying for our expected overnight trip it really beat us up. After a slow decent we made it to the Joe Dodge Lodge around 12:30am just as it started raining, unfortunately no one appeared to be manning the 24/7 front desk so we were unable to check into a bunk. Breakfast opened at 6am and our shuttle was scheduled for a little after 7am. We made the best of our wait by cuddling up in our sleeping bags on one of the benches under the lodges overhang.
Morning came and Matt treated everyone to an all you can eat breakfast at the AMC center. We had the joy of sharing our table with the bus driver who provided both insight and entertainment. While we did not reached our 8 mountain goal but we still did 5 summits in one day, while carrying all this gear. At the end of the day it was a great trip spent with great people. Another one for the books!