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Thread: Carter Dome, South and Middle Carter, and Moriah (18 October 2014)

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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Carter Dome, South and Middle Carter, and Moriah (18 October 2014)

    I started out at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail Head by parking along the side of route 16 as the lot was full. This one is often full. Of course, it was a little after 10 AM so I was certainly not the early bird this day. I hiked the 19MB Trail to the Pond at Carter Hut which was fairly uneventful other than passing a few groups and exchanging hellos. The weather was cloudy and alternating between no rain, light drizzle, and moderate showers. The rain coat had been coming on and off as needed; it was going to be one of those days. From the pond, I climbed the Carter-Moriah Trail, a good thigh burner up to the summit of Carter Dome. I have always like the ledge partway up that overlooks the notch. I traded a few words with a passing couple of hikers in the misty wind. There were some openings in the cloud cover revealing swirling mists that resembled smoke rings forming and quickly disappearing in the air below me in the notch. I moved on and after some more climbing and about 5 miles into the hike, going across Carter Dome’s summit I recalled this was the first mountain I had climbed in New Hampshire. That had been a great hike involving the Rainbow and Black Angel Trails. With the rain more steady, I took the low road past Hight and continued on to Zeta Pass where I passed a group of 6-8. This was the first option to head back out along the Carter Dome Trail, but on reaching it, the weather was still not too bad, the rain had stopped for a while, and I felt good, so I committed to moving on. I was also committing to a road walk at this point. Middle and South Carter came with some more climbing but the weather was still reasonable. It never rained hard, although I needed my jacket to stay dry and warm enough at times even with shorts on the whole day. A group of 8-10 was taking a break on South Carter’s summit, and I had a nice chat with a gentleman near Middle Carter’s summit who was doing an out and back. I moved over Middle Carter, recalling the “point of no-return” I remembered from winter hikes. There’s a steep descent at one point that once you go down could be terribly difficult to get back up in deep snow. The North Carter Trail came up at the pass, the next option to head out to route 16 by combining with the Imp Trail. But the weather had been holding with only occasional need for my jacket and I still felt good, so I committed to going on over North Carter and on toward Moriah. The drop off North Carter heading north is a fairly aggressive section of trail but with some careful foot placement, I made it down to the col and its extensive world of bog bridges. Hiking with my daughter, I have gotten in the habit of counting bog bridges when we hit a long section of them. There were 46 in a row at one point in this stretch and I counted at other times segments of 23, 16, and two 15’s along with countless others. All in all, I was confident I had crossed 200 bog bridges on the route. My daughter will be fascinated when she hears of this magical land. I did a few slippery jigs across more than a couple of these bridges as they were all slick from the rain but managed to not fall and eventually made it to the Stony Brook Trail. I could head out to 16 here but wanted to include Moriah in this endeavor, so I moved on the 1.4 to the summit and was treated to some sun and blues sky when coming out on the South ledges. It was nice the day had worked out to be moderate in terms of its rainfall. I reached and climbed the short and steep spur to Moriah and topped out on the round, ledgy summit. I was about 13 miles in at this point and could feel it in my feet a bit but was happy to have worn gaiters to keep my socks drier. The rainy days and wet shoes tear up my feet much faster, even when in waterproofs. Anyway, I considered heading out Carter-Moriah but that would put me way up near Route 2 after dark. I went back to Stony Brook figuring I was going to be hoofing it back to my car and wanted the shortest walk. My luck is usually great hitch hiking but I don’t count on anything after dark. The lot at Stony Brook is a 5-mile walk from 19 Mile Brook, not ideal, but also an hour and a half realistically. Part of the deal, and far better than coming out much further north. I passed a hiker on her way in for the evening as she was putting on her headlamp. She thought I was a moose coming I think but after hearing her call out, I yelled, “hello” and chatted for a bit. I held out as long as possible for the headlamp and it was only after I missed a slippery, sloped boulder and landed chest to rock that I took the hint. I was lucky to hit the way I did. I was at trailhead after maybe 45 minutes with the headlamp and then faced the 5 mile roadwalk in the dark. I tried thumbing on and off half-heartedly for about a mile before giving up. It’s nice to have those little green mileage signs every 2 tenths to keep track of progress since I knew how far I had walked. It was a quiet walk back to my car where I arrived about 9:20. Ultimately, it was about 23 miles, 18 on trail, and maybe 6500 feet of gain. My feet are sore from the wet miles, my chest is quite tender on the right side from meeting rock, but nothing is cracked nor punctured and all in all, it was a great day in the mountains.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

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    Senior Member Early Bird's Avatar
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    Nice report for a nice day out. Raven. I was out there Saturday also. Just the loop from 19 Mile Brook across S. and Middle Carter and down over Imp Face. Would have been nice to have seen you. I thought of my daughter too as I crossed those bog bridges. She likes to play Billy Goats Gruff on them. Maybe we can get out girls out next summer. Happy Trails.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

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    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Ha! On that same traverse, I remember exuberantly leaping from one bog bridge to the next, enjoying my speed, only then to summarily slip on an algae coating on a bridge, one corner of which had canted slightly into the drink, temporarily (well not as temporarily as I was hoping for) donating my left leg to the bog.

    Scott, you're a stronger human than I -- even under the full influence of Grid-induced mania, I'm past embarking on big trips when I've got foreknowledge that significant rain will be part of the day. Even though there's fun to be had, there's even more fun in rescheduling the same thing for a dry day, and better things to get done on the rainy day.

    I can identify with you on the subtle "15 minutes ago, it was time to turn on your headlamp" hints that the trails can so lovingly convey to us. Glad you're OK.

    Great observation re: the mile markers as well - I too appreciate the respite they afford from the otherwise complete dreariness of a rainy road walk. I'm not overly disappointed with the drivers who passed you by -- "Do I really want to put this person who looks like he just came out of 18 miles of mud on my nice upholstery?" -- valid question!

    I've got a Wildcats-Moriah traverse on the to-do list, but am holding out for a clear day and a car spotting partner...

    Alex
    Last edited by alexmtn; 10-21-2014 at 02:20 PM.

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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Bird View Post
    Nice report for a nice day out. Raven. I was out there Saturday also. Just the loop from 19 Mile Brook across S. and Middle Carter and down over Imp Face. Would have been nice to have seen you. I thought of my daughter too as I crossed those bog bridges. She likes to play Billy Goats Gruff on them. Maybe we can get out girls out next summer. Happy Trails.
    Hey Early Bird; my guess is you started way before me! Would've been nice to see you. Yes, let's get the girls out again to hike! We can find bog bridges.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexmtn View Post
    Ha! On that same traverse, I remember exuberantly leaping from one bog bridge to the next, enjoying my speed, only then to summarily slip on an algae coating on a bridge, one corner of which had canted slightly into the drink, temporarily (well not as temporarily as I was hoping for) donating my left leg to the bog.

    Scott, you're a stronger human than I -- even under the full influence of Grid-induced mania, I'm past embarking on big trips when I've got foreknowledge that significant rain will be part of the day. Even though there's fun to be had, there's even more fun in rescheduling the same thing for a dry day, and better things to get done on the rainy day.

    I can identify with you on the subtle "15 minutes ago, it was time to turn on your headlamp" hints that the trails can so lovingly convey to us. Glad you're OK.

    Great observation re: the mile markers as well - I too appreciate the respite they afford from the otherwise complete dreariness of a rainy road walk. I'm not overly disappointed with the drivers who passed you by -- "Do I really want to put this person who looks like he just came out of 18 miles of mud on my nice upholstery?" -- valid question!

    I've got a Wildcats-Moriah traverse on the to-do list, but am holding out for a clear day and a car spotting partner...

    Alex

    Those bridges can be deadly slick when not notched up (like the old-school ones).

    As far as being a "stronger" human goes, there are lots of more appropriate descriptions here probably..."stubborn," "pigheaded"...others may have suggestions. Honestly, the day was fine weatherwise for me. I'm not a fan of the cold, hard rain but this was a cloudy day with some drizzle and a few showers and occasional cool cloud formations.

    I will likely remember the headlamp lesson next time I am hiking at night and err on the other side. It was wet afterall - probably should have thought that one through a bit better. I usually take a break when I no longer see well and let full darkness come on before using a light.

    For hitches, I'm usually looking at pickup trucks. I don't deserve an actual nice seat in that condition. I more resemble "cargo" than "passenger" sometimes. I was resigned to the road walk this time anyway knowing it would be dark.

    Good luck on the traverse! I had enough Saturday without adding the Wildcats too. Another time if I feel really ambitious.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

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