Sierra Wynn (10),
Chuck Wynn (46, in his sweet spot),
Fred Knight (63, past his sweet spot*)
To start, click on the map. We managed a long hike (9 hours, >10 miles, >4000′ rise) with ideal weather (warm, sunny, calm) and some demanding snow conditions (many postholes, slush in parts, and some ice). A nice adventure with good performance by all ages. Two of the team (Wynns) did Mt Clay as well. Got back before any ugly weather set in and enjoyed the magnificent views above treeline.
Pictures with iphone (postholes below) and Panasonic pocket camera (above) and both (final pair way below).
See all pictures here.
Arriving at the cog railway parking lot around 8am just like I had last weekend, we set off on the Jewell Trail with a range of gear: boots duct-taped to snow pants with slightly too large microspikes (Sierra), microspikes with snow shoes ready (Fred), and plastic boots with crampons hanging on pack (Chuck). With the temperature at 35, we anticipated a spongy trail—which is what we got. After 45 minutes, I switched to snow shoes, as did Sierra soon after. Her snow shoes required adjustment when she kept sliding without any traction, and the team realized that Dad had put them on with the toe strap under the shoe covering the cleat. Proper installation complete, the trip to treeline was fine for the snow shoers, but young Chuck labored through many postholes. Strong as an ox is young Chuck, still in his sweet spot. And Sierra has the Wynn stamina, with an accompanying happy disposition.
The emergence above treeline (with movie) gave us tremendous views with blue sky, a snowy set of Presidential peaks, and clouds beneath, fading slowly away to reveal Franconia Ridge in the distance and eventually the whole valley back down to Marshfield Station and Bretton Woods. After we set off to climb to the Gulfside Trail, Fred bushwhacked north while Sierra and Chuck kept to Jewell. I waited where I joined the Gulfside, out of sight from the Wynn team, who finally emerged over the rise in the trail having done an excursion up to Mt Clay, which was above me. We then took another hour or more to get to the top of Mt Jefferson, arriving there at 2pm.
The trip back took until 5:25 pm, exactly 9 hours after the start. We reached treeline after 1:15 (at 3:30pm). Chuck and Sierra built a snowman (see documentation), and we did the final 2.5 miles in ~1.5 hours. Although it got cloudy, there was no rain (which we hit south of Manchester on the drive home). A tremendously fun hike with a superb team!
~10 miles, ~4000′ elevation gain, 9 hours, great views with warm temperatures and little breeze
See all pictures here and movie here.
* The business about “sweet spot” has not been discussed previously in these reports. Rumor has it that being “past your sweet spot” does not disqualify you from doing these hikes, but recovery time is longer. Suffice it to say that young Chuck really didn’t need snowshoes because he could withstand the battering of numerous postholes while Fred required snowshoes to survive the hike. That is one distinguishing characteristic of being “in your sweet spot” versus being “past your sweet spot.”