This past week my family and I found ourselves headed to New Hampshire to spend a few days trying out the new extended family camper at Saco River Campground in Conway. Besides breaking in the new camper, the plan was to get a day in at Storyland, do some tubing down the Saco River, and relax. Of course, we could not make the trip without building in time for a hike up one of New Hampshire’s forty-eight (48) 4000′ peaks.
We arrived in Conway around 12:30 pm on Monday, August 13th, the camper had not arrived yet and it had rained on and off on the way up. It looked like the camper was not going to arrive until after 5 pm, so my oldest, Sam and I put together a quick hiking trip. I was looking for a 4000′ footer with relatively close access to the highway so we could concentrate on getting up and down in the mountain with the remaining time left in the day. Sam is eight and has done some of the top summits in New Hampshire but it was very wet out with more to come so we were looking for something moderate.
Mount Jackson, summit elevation 4052′, and a 331′ prominence, came up on a few different New Hampshire hiking websites as meeting this criteria.
Mount Jackson is located in Coos County, New Hampshire. The mountain is named after Charles Thomas Jackson, a New Hampshire’s geologist in the 19th century. The mountain lies in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains and is flanked to the north by Mount Pierce, and to the southwest by Mount Webster. The Appalachian Trail crosses the summit of Mt. Jackson as it traverses the main ridge of the Presidential Range from Crawford Notch to the summit of Mount Washington.
Following lunch, we embarked on the Webster Jackson Trail a little before 3 pm. I carried a light pack with our rain gear, some snacks, water, and a couple other essentials. Sam and I put on elevation quickly and after about 35 minutes into the hike we stopped at a look out (Bugle Cliff) to the west where we could see nothing but cloud and fog.
I did not expect any less hiking in these wet conditions. Sam, having completed Mount Adams and Madison earlier this summer, was not disappointed either, and had been waiting for several weeks to get another hike in. We continued our way to the top over the next hour and half. The humidity had me sweating bullets but Sam barely broke a sweat. We arrived at the summit around 5 pm and caught up with a couple other hikers who were continuing on to the Mitzpah Hut.
Sam had his peanut butter sandwich and I re-hydrated. We explored the summit a little bit and then headed back down the way we came. The first mile or so was a bit difficult because of the rock scrambles and the wet and slippery conditions, but we made good time after that, as we came back by Bugle Cliff the sun was finally breaking through.
We made it to the bottom at 7 pm, and hiked over to the Highland Center to catch our ride to dinner. We succeeded in completing number 39 out of the 48, 4000′ peaks in New Hampshire. Over all, I would say, the hike was easy to moderate. Sam had no problem at all negotiating the trail. So, if you are on a family vacation in New Hampshire and you want to bag a peak, Mount Jackson is a good candidate. Had the weather been nicer, we would have enjoyed 360 degree views of the Presidential Range to the North and East, as well as to the peaks in Western New Hampshire.