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Thread: Wild River Wilderness and Carter-Moriah Range - June 19, 2021

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Wild River Wilderness and Carter-Moriah Range - June 19, 2021

    The main hike of my recent trip to the Whites was a big loop that took me through the Wild River Wilderness and over the Carter-Moriah range. I started on the Shelburne Trail at 4:50 AM. It was decidedly brisk at 43 degrees and very welcome as it meant no bugs for a while. The seven miles of the Shelburne trail were often runnable and the climbs never too steep so this was a good way to ease into the day.

    The Highwater Trail was going to be another story as I had heard from a friend who recently hiked it. They had said that it was washed out in places and that makeshift paths had been made using pink ribbons to mark the way. This all proved very true and I went off trail pretty much immediately when I took the river bed a ways instead of heading straight across. After cutting across the woods I found the trail but soon I got even more wrapped up in thick brush, which led to me wandering this way and that before I returned to the river and just took the path of least resistance. After that it was mostly much easier to follow though there was still one section ahead to trip me up.

    It was my first time along the Wild River and it was impressive how wide it was. The water was very low but the fallen trees lining the shore made it clear that this river was serious business in high water. Once I passed the intersection with the Moriah Brook Trail things got easier on the Highwater in terms of navigation but the trail itself began to climb a bit and move away from the Wild River. The chilly temps were long gone and it was now climbing towards the 70s.

    I was both looking forward to and dreading the Black Angel Trail which would bring me up just below Carter Dome over five miles. The first 1.5 miles had a good amount of runnable terrain but the trail went on and on, climbing ever higher. It was cool seeing Carter Dome from the other side but it made me think it was closer than it actually was. The bugs finally came out and the sun was high enough to make things steamy in the woods. There were a couple water spots up high where I was able to top off all my bottles and not long after the last one I finally hit the Carter-Moriah trail.

    Finally on the ridgeline after 16.5 miles, it was a short jaunt to the summit of Carter Dome. The bugs on the summit made it clear what I was in for and I promptly turned around and headed for Mt. Hight. I was definitely feeling it at this point and was looking forward to a long break on the Hight summit to refresh and nourish. But the bugs were worse on Hight, probably the worse I would experience all day. After a few minutes I had enough and continued on. So long as I was moving the bugs were only a nuisance.

    I slowed down considerably on the ridgeline, feeling the elevation. I encountered a good number of hikers doing the Carters or the whole ridge, including an AT hiker who was slackpacking from Rattle River and clearly enjoying the feeling of being unencumbered. Found one more water source somewhere between Middle and North Carter but my hamstrings nearly seized up when I crouched to fill up. Thankfully they didn’t lock up and I had no further issues.

    After the intersection with North Carter Trail it was a slow four miles to get to the Moriah summit. There were some wonderful views to be had though and a nice breeze on some open sections made for a fairly bug-light resting experience. There were a good number of people on the Moriah summit so I didn’t linger long. I could see Shelburne Moriah waiting for me and knew I still had almost a 1/3 of the hike to go, though most of it would be downhill.

    The descent down Moriah features some lovely bog bridges and the climb up Shelburne Moriah has lots of open scrubby rock which feel like they belong at a higher elevation. The summit of this mountain is a little tricksy – I kept thinking I was nearly there only to see another cairn up ahead. At the actual summit I took a little breather and enjoyed the last views of the day before I began descending for good.

    Turns out Shelburne Moriah had more views on the way down but soon I was in the woods for the last time. My legs were holding together pretty well and I was descending at a decent clip. I refilled my water with three miles to go and once I hit the last two miles of old road I was able to get back to a shambling run. I encountered my first angry grouse but it ducked off into the brush before I could get footage. For the only time in this hike I encountered deer flies, the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced. If nothing else they kept me moving (watch the end of the video to see just how many). I finished the Shelburne Trail and threw myself into the car and cranked the AC to escape the devil flies. Satisfied but completely spent I drove ten minutes to the West Bethel Motel, where I showered and managed to drag myself out again for dinner before returning and promptly falling asleep at 7:30 PM.


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    Senior Member Cumulus's Avatar
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    How was the moose scat on Black Angel Trail? I did that trail once in 2009 and it had the highest concentration of moose scat I've ever seen. Not that I saw any moose.

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumulus View Post
    How was the moose scat on Black Angel Trail? I did that trail once in 2009 and it had the highest concentration of moose scat I've ever seen. Not that I saw any moose.
    Quite a bit on both Shelburne and Black Angel. Some of it looked really fresh but sadly I also saw no moose.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Another great Video.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I liked the ending ... "You're not getting in here, you bastards!"

    Tim
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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Those deer flies were crazy at the end! They followed me all the way until I pulled out onto Route 2.

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhody Seth View Post
    Thanks guys. Those deer flies were crazy at the end! They followed me all the way until I pulled out onto Route 2.
    I always carry at least one of these strips on all non winter hikes:

    https://www.deerflypatches.com/

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    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    I always carry at least one of these strips on all non winter hikes:

    https://www.deerflypatches.com/
    That is awesomely brilliant. Thanks for the info.!

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    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    I always carry at least one of these strips on all non winter hikes:

    https://www.deerflypatches.com/
    That is a great invention. I like how they can be put on horses too. Fly paper for your hat!!! I just ordered some from Amazon.
    On #67 of NE67
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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    I can attest that those deer fly strips work very well. If I throw one before a long run at this time of year, I'll end up with 30-40 flies stuck to it by the end. Nasty!

    My super-long beard flows over my shoulders when I run. And I've taken to wearing a hat with a neck flap as well. Combined they offer great defense against the flies - haven't even needed the tape this season.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzbo View Post
    That is a great invention. I like how they can be put on horses too. Fly paper for your hat!!! I just ordered some from Amazon.
    If you want to up the game wear a beenie hat with a propeller in addition to the sticky paper. Deer Flies are attracted to movement. The propeller acts as the hook to reel them in so the paper can stick ‘me.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    A more DIY approach for deer flies is to use blue painters tape and TangleFoot. Put the painters tape on your hat/pack/whatever and cover it with the TangleFoot. They like the color blue and the tape is easily removed.

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    A more DIY approach for deer flies is to use blue painters tape and TangleFoot. Put the painters tape on your hat/pack/whatever and cover it with the TangleFoot. They like the color blue and the tape is easily removed.
    That's a pretty nifty idea. Is that TangleFoot easy to work with? I forgot that tidbit about how deerflies are attracted to blue things.

  14. #14
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhody Seth View Post
    That's a pretty nifty idea. Is that TangleFoot easy to work with? I forgot that tidbit about how deerflies are attracted to blue things.
    https://dianeatwood.com/deer-flies-trap/
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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