This was a last minute trip up Mt Jupiter. Plans didn't work out for another event the day before and I decided to hike Mt Jupiter so I wouldn't have to go the entire weekend without getting outdoors. My friend John from the Peninsula Wilderness Club joined me. John is the youngest member of the Mt Rose Trail Crew. The Mt Rose Trail Crew maintains many of the National Forest trails around the North Fork Skokomish area, including Mt Rose trail, Mt Ellinor trail, Big Creek and Big Creek connector trails, and Copper Creek trail, just to name a few. The crew doesn't work on the Jupiter Trail so this was an opportunity for John to hike it for the first time. It was very interesting listening to John talk about some of the stuff they do as we drove to the trailhead.
The hike on this day was very overcast. I love the Mt Jupiter Trail, it is becoming one of my favorites. It does need some attention however. Recently, access to the trail was limited when some logging operations in the area made closing the gate going up the road to the trailhead necessary. The road was closed for 3 or 4 years. I believe it's because of this closure, as well as a backlog of other trails that need attention that Mt Jupiter hasn't seen much attention in the way of maintenance lately. Most of the trail is in great shape, but the upper 2.5 miles needs some work. Trees growing adjacent to the trail have started taking over with their branches pushing hikers to go around them causing erosion issues on the tread. Large Rhododendrons are also growing up and out into the trail. I would guess that it would only take a crew a day or two to make a huge improvement to the upper parts of the trail. Even if a few hikers brought up some loppers, and clipped a little here and there, a big improvement could be made.
We were unfortunate enough to be the first ones up Jupiter this day and it had rained the night before. All the branches were wet and we got soaked. Luckily, the summit was warm if not still a little overcast and we were able to dry out some before returning to the car. We actually stayed pretty dry on the return since we and a few other parties had come up after us, had knocked most of the water off. The sun never did burn off all the clouds but it was OK. We had a fantastic hike regardless of the wet and cloudy conditions. The rhodie show was hard to beat.
My previous trip to Mt Jupiter was different in that the views were phenomenal. This time however, I was able to get to know the trail a little better and study its nuances. I do think this is one of my new favorites.