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 Jefferson Jam-Caps Ridge 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Jefferson Jam-Caps Ridge
Earlier this year some silly little Canadian boy ( :P ) decided to concoct this outrageous idea of assembling as many hikers as possible on the summit of Jefferson coming from every direction possible. Not one to pass up an interesting event, especially one thought up by a good friend, Jen and I found ourselves set to enjoy a return to Caps Ridge. Jen’s last experience on the Caps were very unpleasant for here. To say the least she was scared s**tless. I knew she could do, now after Flume Slide and North Slide. She would still start the day worried and nervous, but little did we know how much fun she would wind up having.

A group was gathered to set out with us. Minutes after pulling into the parking lot a car pulled in and honked. It was Drew out to spot a car in case he wanted to come down Caps (he was going up the Castle Trail.) Color me surprised when he said that Cath Goodwin was with him in another car that had pulled in. Cath was one of those people I’d been looking forward to meeting for a while, but had only finaly managed to do so today. We chatted a bit, said “see you on top” and off they went. A little after 9:00, ShugahJohn showed up with his lovely pup Sugar. We waited around for the last two expected to be joining us, MichaelJ and Sabrina (Una-Dogger.) True to MJ form he came rolling in ONE minute before the projected start time. With everyone ready to go (and for Michael that meant strapping on the Hubble telescope of a camera he carries :lol: ) we set off on the trail to the awaiting fun.

Caps Ridge trail has the highest starting elevation of any trail in the Whites. Many people see the short distance and the less intense elevation gain and think this trail is going to be a cake walk. Anyone who thinks that is either crazy or has the stamina of Sherpa John. The grade starts of on the slightly moderate side out to the whirlpool ledge, all of which is in the trees. You notice immediately how relatively shorter the trees are than the average trail, a sure indication you are already pretty high up. When you get to the ledges you are treated to a beautiful view of the valley all the way up to Washington, and the Caps along with the false summit just off to the left. Considering our relatively late starting time, it was no surprise to see Cog smoke already piling up around the area, choking and gray. We knew the poor Jewell Trail group was probably getting baked in it, but all we could do was shake our heads in disgust. After taking a VERY liberal break, we got back up and moving.

Sugar took the lead, constantly running back and forth to make sure her daddy was still behind her. She would remain a source of pleasant amusement all day with your typical “mans best friend” behavior. We picked our way along the scrub lined trail, making our way to the bottom of the first cap. Jen took to it with a high amount of trepidation, but on the first slab all hesitation was gone. In fact, she would move quicker than me ALL day. Guess I need to lay off the cookies and get on the treadmill! On top of the first Cap we got the first real stunning view of the day. Crystal clear blue skies, NO clouds, minimal haze…..you could see forever. Michael began pointing out peaks and landmarks all over the place, and when Sabrina queried him on something he did not know, he did what any smart man would do…..he made something up! I believe we settled on the name of a blue lake off in the distance being “Tidy Bowl” lake…or something to that effect. I guess we are not good liars, she did not believe a word we said :? :lol: .

About here, John decided to put on Sugars booties to protect the pads of her feet. She got up and started getting used to them, flopping around and giving us all a little comic relief. Off we went to attack the next Cap, moving slowly but surely. We topped off on the last cap and picked our way up to the false summit, switch backing towards the pointy rock formation above. With the liberal breaks we had been taking we knew we would not make it EXACTLY for 12:30, but since we enjoyed ourselves immensely it did not bother me too much. John and his pup are a riot, MichaelJ is his usual joy to converse with, and Sabrina is a pleasure to talk to as well. Jen? Well, she is just her usual self….dull and boring :twisted: :P :wink: .

With the true summit in sight, we all sucked in our wind and made a bee line. We tapped the summit of Jefferson for the second time this year, proud and happy. Below we could already see the Six Husbands group, out lounging, But surprisingly they were the only other group up already. We picked our way slowly down to the large cairn below, and I was amused to see the northern facing side coated heavily in ice, while on the southern side the rocks were dry as a bone! It was a very cool sight to behold. We walked over to the formed group and almost immediately I was greeted by Bob Hayes who introduced his lovely wife Geri. Bob and Geri were two more folks I had been looking forward to meeting, but had only managed to do so just now. Jim (SilentCal) was standing around with Josh (SonicBoom) waiting for Cathie to make her way up. Apparently her leg was hurting her a bit, and she had fell behind. She appeared off in the distance and made it slowly over where she dropped her pack and started picking a nice place to relax. Next up was Drew and Cath with the Castle group. The Jewell crew was not far behind, but coming in one or two at a time. Hiker Bob wasted no time handing out stacks of RoT stickers while we all started to munch on lunches and snacks. We all sat and had fun for almost an hour before it was time for the group to bust up and start off back down. MichaelJ and Sabrina had chosen to go down the Castle Trail, our group instead picked up Steve, Christa and Sue. After asking if they could get a ride with me, I said no problem, and we were off after Christa “officially” tagged number 21!

With the sun already starting to look like it was getting low (yup, not even 2:00 yet….sure sign winter is coming fast) we wound our way down off the summit cone. Jen, Sugar, John and Sue took off like lightning while Steve and I hung back shooting the breeze and keeping an eye on Christa. She sure has come a long ways and took every gnarly boulder, every smooth slab, every tough hop with stride. Between the top most cap and the whirlpool ledges the group order would change constantly, sometimes John hanging back to chat with Steve, sometimes me, all of us having fun.

Back down on the ledges we decided to take a break. John took of Sugar’s booties, Christa took the moment to remove a ton of gravel from her shoes, and I a little munchies. A few others were already there, some coming down, another couple going up. It was this couple that nearly gave me the laugh of my life. The woman looks at her boyfriend/husband and points to the false summit and says “so we are going to make it up there in 40 minutes” :shock: :shock: :shock: !!!! I stifled a laugh and geared back up. We all moved along again, Jen, John, Sue and I taking a pretty commanding lead. At one point we met Bob (hikerfast) coming up on his second run. He had gone up to the link and took that for a ways, then ran back down, decided to go back up again, and that’s where he was at that point. He went on (in only that way that Bob can :D ) about his new Trackphone. Welcome to the modern world Bob :P ! He said he was in for dinner, but wanted to get back up to the link junction for a little more exercise. Since we had to shuttle Steve, Christa and Sue over to Jewell, then pick up Cathie, Josh and Jim it should work out.

We came out into the parking lot and made for the car. Jen, Sue and I waited for Steve and Christa, Sugar and John were off to get camp set up before dark. While waiting Jen and I did our best impersonation of a Pucknuts, post-hike hygiene ritual, and changed into clean clothes for dinner. When Steve and Christa appeared we all packed into the car and booked it over to the Cog parking lot. A few minutes after arriving, the silent one himself appeared out of the gray, smoky haze like a ghost in the night. He said Cathie had taken a spill and was feeling beat up. So after a bit I drove up to meet her and Josh and take them back down to the upper lot where Jim was. After saying goodbye to Steve, Christa and Sue we all piled into my car and I drove the three over to the Zealand winter lot to pick up Jim’s car. We all headed over to Woodstock where we waited an hour and fifteen minutes for a table. Tired, hungry and ramped up on Bob’s bad jokes we ripped into dinner with a fierce passion.

I left my friends about 9:15. We were tired, but happy. The excitement of a wonderful day was winding down, and we all needed sleep. With that I got back into the car for a very tiring drive home. I enjoyed this day to its fullest, and I look forward to the next interesting event (as long as it does not include Zealand Mountain!)

Brian


Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:24 pm
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Hey Brian,

Great TR....altough I didn't notice the mention of rain in it. Did something go right? :D :wink:

Maybe Mother Nature realizes that you and Jen are going to hike no matter what, and now that you're done with the 48, she's giving up on harrassing you?

Bill

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Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:02 am
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Lotsa fun on this one. We could not have picked a better day for it. Six Husbands easily jumps into my favorite trails list by far. Certainly not for beginners and quite a challenge to do. Cathie was okay from her fall which was literally 100 feet away from the trail exit.


Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:17 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Hey Bill, apparently Poison Ivy is infected with the same curse as I. Perhaps we canled each other out (ya know, two wrongs make a right...or something like that.) Or, mt theory is that we were hiking this one for pleasure not business. The minute one of us had said "I need Jefferson for this list" it would have been over :lol: .

B.


Mon Oct 09, 2006 4:47 pm
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