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 #1 of 48!........A WET Jackson 
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 #1 of 48!........A WET Jackson
Today marked the milestone. For a couple of months now I have been hiking every weekend to get myself ready for a crazy notion I got in my head this past winter.......to do the 48. As the time ticked down it seemed like the decision over which to do first was goin to be harder than the hike itself. Sherpa John half jokingly said "do Owls Head first." I think he was shocked as heck when I said OK! But as plans for that fell apart it came time to look for a new first. Long story short Sherpa sent me an email, curt and to the point "Were doing Jackson.....trust me."

Fast forward to this past week. Forecasts were looking grim, and it was soon apparent it was going to be wet. Sherpa e-mailed to make sure Jen and I were actually still going. I figured we had gotten this far, so it was full speed ahead. He said to start early, he and Sarah would meet us on the trail as they had a seminar in Pinkham to do in the morning.

So we wake up to the dark grey skies. It was drizzling when we hit the tolls and was raning period when we hit the notch. Last week we drove through you could see the cliffs of Cannon miles away, this morning the only visible part of Cannon was a ghostly spotting of the ski trails. But chugg ahead we did. Now, my plan had kinda gone outta whack. I had wanted to get hiking around 10:30, which would give us a decent head start on Sherpa and Sherpette, who were supposed to start around 12. We left the house at 7:30, stopped for gas, and I drove no faster than 65 in the hope to eat up some time. But dang it all we still managed to be on trail at 9:45. Oh well, I figured we might as well take it slow.

So we began the looooong and wet (I guess EVERYTHING seems longer when its wet out) trek up the Webster-Jackson trail. To kill a little more time we took the spur path to Bugle cliff. Alas, as a precursor of what we would get atop, the only view was of the Highland Center, 302 and some cars, and Saco lake. NOTHING ELSE (Sherpa later said the clouds opened up enough for them to see out to the Washington Hotel.) So back to the main trail and up, up, up we went.

Along the way a guy and gal came pacing along. We talked for a second while I started striping off my rain coat (by now, blessedly, the heavy rain had stoped.) They continued on while I doped up on bug juice....citronella to be exact, and it plays into what comes next.

As we got to within about 3/4 a mile of the top we met a group of 3 older ladies out on their hike. One stopped and sasid "Mmmmmm it smells real nice over here" (from about 10 feet away.) We finaly figured out that it was my citronella they were smelling. They replied that "you smell real nice".......hey what can I say . Of course they she then said "it smells like the stuff they put on horses to keep them away.....whats it called" . I let that slide and told them it was called citronella. I scooched over into the trees and helped the three down a rough rock slab, they complimented me by calling me a "gentleman" and I thanked them and wished them well.

At the top we met the other two folks who had passed us. They stayed long enough to change clothes and look at the summit carin before they were back off again. It had taken us a hair over three hours including stooping for lunch before the tough rock scrambles and the 10 minute bugle cliff diversion. Now, Id like to say the view from the top was breathtaking.......but there was no view. Completely socked in. So we hunkered down to wait for Sherpa and Sherpette, ate some granola bars and drank lotsa fluid. It wasnt super windy, but it did start misting, so we broke out the warmer clothes, hats and gloves.

While waiting I heard something below......people coming up. So I walked closer to the edge and was amazed when an femal voice began an operatic serenade that echoed through the trees . About 10 minutes later two spunky young gals summited. They stopped long enough to eat lunch (Burger King if Im not mistaken) and chit chat for a few. They were up from Boston and doing the loop with Webster. But the most hilarious thing of all was that their faces were plastered with MUD!!!!! They had done it for no particular reason.....just for the heck of it. They said they must of looked kinda silly, but I looked at them and said "Hey, I carry a yellow rubber duckie around the woods, so I am the last person to judge." I snapped their picture on the summit carin and off they went.

After waiting around 30-45 minutes it was getting a bit too cool to just stand around anymore. So We started the descent and hoped we would see John and Sarah on the way up. Sure enough they were just about to the top when we crossed paths. Sherpa was cursing my name the second he saw me! I guess the last thing he wanted to do again....EVER.....was hiking in the rain. We chatted for a few minutes and they told us to continue on "were gonna go fondle the summit carin for a few and we will catch back up." The only time Sherpette hiked Jackson all she got was clouds....well thats all she got this time AGAIN. It didnt seem like very long till they were back down at our sides again for the walk back down. Jen was cursing the wet, steep rock scrambles, but with Sherpa and Sherpette behind here she seemed to hit the spots a lot quicker. We enjoyed some good conversation on the way down. Sherpa couldnt keep his head screwed on right as he asked if we had passed the Jackson-Webster split......about 10 minutes afterwards!

Down at the bottom we were a bit relieved to see the sun poking through a hole in the clouds, and dry pavement on 302. John pointed out the features of Elephant head and the "chimp" (looks more like my cousin than a primate....though I think they are one in the same" up above EH. We stripped off wet clothes and dirty boots, chatted some more, and Sherpa gave me an Autographed copy of "The Mountain Ear" in which he is featured. Im now making plans of selling it on E-bay for a million bucks .

I told John that now comes the fun part.....the mind numbind drive home. He said "Yeah but aint it worth it", and all joking aside it was. However, John has promised himself, upon finishing his 48, he would NEVER hike in the rain again. He was once again saying it as Sarah finished her 48 . Now, Im making the same promise.....NO RAIN HIKES (which pleases Jen just fine .) NOW, lets see how long that promise lasts!

1 down, 47 to go

Brian


Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:37 am
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Congrats Brian, what a great first hike! If you have some pictures, we'll post this in the Readers' Trip Reports section, just let us know. It takes a litle while for me to find the time to get them up (just ask Pucknuts!) but they do get there eventually. Well done, and keep up the good work!

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Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:42 am
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We had the camera, but alas there wasnt much to take pictures of except lotsa mud, deep puddles and lotsa clouds :lol: .
Thanks for the kind words!
Brian


Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:04 pm
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Great trip report on a very nice hike regardless of the rain. Plan your hikes to bag two summits (or 3 in the case of Tom, Field, Willey) on a hike and the 47 will go quickly. Try not to end the 48 4k's with Owl's Head, enjoy a mountain with views. Happy trail to you!


Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:42 pm
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Hiking in the rain is always better than not hiking at all! :) Some of the peaks with the bst views I did in the rain/fog: Bondcliff, Bond, "the Moose", and Isolation to name a few. That just means I need to revisit. :D

Congrats on #1. 47 seems like a lot, but you can do it with a little patience.

Smitty


Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:25 am
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Congratulatons to the both of you!!! :D

Some of my most memorable hikes have been in the rain.

But, if you think that was fun, wait until it's not raining and there's view!!!

Tripyramids on the 16th? Or Owl's Head if you want to get it out of the way?


Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:04 am
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Hey Brian,
Great report!
and everyone else is correct....the most memorable hikes are the unique ones...and you always remember your first.
Looking forward to catching up sometime,
Bill

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Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:08 pm
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Thanks for all the encouragement folks!

Origionaly I was supposed to do Owls Head as #1, but I began to have concerns with how Jen would fair. I believed I could have done it, but it would have pushed my current abilities to the max. So with a Heavy heart I told Sherpa John it was going to be a no-go. But thats Ok, it will make bagging it all the more sweeter!

And your right Pucknuts, we gotta meet up sometime. Thats why Im hoping I can make it for the possible Pondicherry Hike. Ive been wanting to meet you, warchief, Mtn Magic, Chris, and the gang here on Hike-nh!

Thanks again my friends!
Brian


Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:00 pm
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Great Report! There must be some bad karma on Jackson, I never seem to have good luck weather-wise either. Save Owl's Head until you got some more miles on those boots. Don't get me wrong, it's a great hike and while some people lament the view, it is one hike you won't forget anytime soon.


Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:07 pm
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