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Thread: Carter Dome and Wild River

  1. #1
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    Carter Dome and Wild River

    First trip in years - and first with trekking poles. I'm definitely a convert. I could *not* have completed this hike without them - relying completely on them for stream crossings. Also felt secure with my Stabils (poor-man's micro spikes).
    Parked at the lot at the end of Carter Notch Road - one other car, 8am Friday, Nov 20. Less than an inch of snow from FR233 to maybe a mile down Black Angel Trail - a bit more in Carter Notch and Dome - and gone from lower elevations on Saturday. Tricky crossing of Wildcat River, just above junction with Wild River Trail. I enjoyed lookout views part-way up Carter Dome and just past its summit, especially of the Presidentials. Passed two solo hikers coming down Carter Dome as I climbed - the only two hikers I saw in 21 miles.
    Black Angel Trail should be renamed Black Angel Herd Path - in 4.9 miles, I saw two blazes. Yes, for most of its length, the footway is rather evident, but, with late fall's complete blanket of leaves, combined with a gazillion blowdowns, finding the trail was very often extremely difficult. (Yup, a lot easier with two or more hikers - one to explore, one to stay on known trail.) I would guess that a winter hike here is not recommended.
    Original plan was to continue on Black Angel up to Meader and Baldfaces, but: 1. I neglected to account for only about 8 hours of daylight, especially when deep in the Wild River valley and 2. I'm way out of shape, so 8 hours is *not* enough for my planned 12-14 miles and 3. I think I would not have been able to cross the Wild River *twice* in one day. I was surprised at the high water flow in all streams, given the drought-dry summer, but I suppose it was due to recent rain/snow runoff.
    Wild River Trail footway, southbound, soon after Black Angel, was rather overgrown with hobblebush (or something) always brushing my boots and legs. And no room to swing my nice new poles!
    More tricky stream crossings of Spruce Brook and Red Brook - some presumed stepping stones were under water.
    Surprising transition on Wild River Trail south of Perkins Notch - what seemed a very different forest. Trail also much better maintained than in the Wilderness - very recent chainsaw clearing of blowdowns, and plenty of flags indicating (I assume) planned trailwork like catwalks, etc. Thank you trail maintainers.
    Speaking of which. Now that I'm a TPer (is that what they call Trekking Pole users?), I think those one-log catwalks should be re-worked to have three logs each - the middle for boots, the outside for poles. Could someone let me know when this new policy is in effect? Email me at howhardcoulditbe@pipedream.com
    All told, I think I prefer the stream crossings on FR233.
    On return to car - 3pm Sat Nov 21 - lot had four cars, room for three more, although three cars were also parked along road.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    THanks for the nice write up. My favorite area. I was the adopter of Black Angel Trail back around 1985 or so. You probably never saw them, but there are several extremely ancient enameled metal mile markers along the Black Angel that back in the 80s were almost fully grown into the trees holding them. If I recall, they were about fifteen feet off the ground.

  3. #3
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    I did see one metal marker - thin-but-stiff, bent almost flat on itself, the bent end embedded in a tree at about 6 feet off the ground. I saw part of two numbers on it and did not imagine it would be a mile marker.
    Thanks for doing a trail adoption.
    Of the two blazes I did see - one was a splash of yellow, one was an old-fashioned axe blaze - both at about 6 feet.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jreckard View Post
    I did see one metal marker - thin-but-stiff, bent almost flat on itself, the bent end embedded in a tree at about 6 feet off the ground. I saw part of two numbers on it and did not imagine it would be a mile marker.
    Thanks for doing a trail adoption.
    Of the two blazes I did see - one was a splash of yellow, one was an old-fashioned axe blaze - both at about 6 feet.
    Yep, that's them. Lots of lost history and other cool things in there. An old climactic station, Spooky Moriah Gorge, The remnants of the logging engine explosion and iron pins high up where the trestle crossed the Moriah branch explosion site, The lost Sanctuary Trail, Geologically new upthrust cliffs along the Blue Brook trail. Big shelter cave system at the northeastern terminus of the Blue Brook upthrust. Nice little USFS campground at Wild River. Deer hill mine, Lords Hill mine. More. I'm sure.

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