October 14, 2013: Mount Jefferson

The season was getting late and I knew this could very well be my last hike of 2013 so I decided to go out with a bang and tackle the 3rd highest on the list……Mount Jefferson.  It may be the third highest but Jefferson is also one of the shorter hikes time wise.  The weathering was threatening as I set out so I knew I would need to keep my wits about me as I hiked into the caps ridge trail which has been known to take a few knee caps out in her time.

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The hike started off tame enough as most hikes tend to but quickly got steeper and steeper as most hikes also tend to do.  This hike starts at the highest elevation of any of the 4,000 footers so it wasn’t long before I breached the tree line and saw that the sun was no longer breaching the clouds.

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The caps were rising up in front of me as I saw some fellow hikers struggling at some very steep sections of trail.  I even passed a couple groups who had turned back due to the threatening skies and or the threatening trails.  I soon found myself entering the clouds and finally understood what people meant when they say the mountain top was “socked in”

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After rolling over the caps, I eventually came to a spot where trails intersected.  I was pointed upwards and things soon became short sited.  I could barely make out the next trail cairn and I was starting to get a little worried that they couldn’t make me out at all.  I was feeling surprisingly dangerous though so I plodded on against all hiking recommendations.

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I knew my handy White Mountain Hiking Guide(ding ding) would be completely useless in 2 inch visibility unless I needed to use it for kindling.  Luckily for it and me, the summit suddenly rose up before me along with some gusty wind.  I made the final scramble to the top where I spent 20 minutes trying to prop my hiking buddy up for his traditional pose.  After grabbing the picture, I grabbed my bag and made like the wind back down to the safety of the caps(scratches head) and finally the even safer confines of my car. 21 down, 27 to go!!

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