Mt. Surprise - April 12, 2023

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Rhody Seth

Active member
Dec 18, 2015
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Charlestown, RI
I sorta tricked my daughter Ezri to joining me for a few days in the Whites during our April vacation by neglecting to mention how much snow was still in the hills. She does not care for snow and certainly does not care for hiking in it. Nevertheless, with the bribe of indoor swimming and outlet shopping she was willing to indulge me. And so we ventured up the Carter Moriah Trail on a lovely Wednesday morning. With temps in the 50s and light wind it was a delightful hike. We needed spikes almost immediately and by the time we reached Mt. Surprise the soft snow prompted us to switch to snowshoes. Great views from Mt. Surprise and the other exposed sections.

The plan was to continue on to Mt. Moriah. Now Ezri has getting a taste of a true spring monorail and she didn't care for it. It was slow going at this point and we were taking lots of breaks. I left it up to Ezri for when to call it and after about another mile we decided to bail on Moriah and descend. It was the right call as we still didn't get down to almost 5 PM. By that point the wind had really picked up and would be blustery all night, even in the valley. Despite not reaching our primary goal it was a lovely day of spring hiking. And Ezri said she would still be willing to hike with me again...once the snow disappears.

Mt Surprise is real nice place for quick hike and good view but the rest of the slog up Moriah is usually buzz kill for most due to the numerous false summits and it holds onto snow for real long time in the spring. I generally suggest the Mahosuc trail to Mt Hayes ledge in Gorham as an alternative as it has the lead mine and Mascot Pond and then the lead mine ledge nice intermediate points of interest. One caveat is the hike from the Mt Hayes Ledge past the indeterminate Mt Hayes summit and on to the intersection with AT tends to hold onto snow and is somewhat anticlimatic.

BTW, the Town of Gorham is attempting to buy the large private inholding of land at the base of the trail and up to the FS boundary. I expect the parking situation and trailhead location may change, possibly substantially if it goes through as some of the residents at the end of Bangor Street are less than happy about the location of the trailhead.

Hopefully you stopped by the Hugger Mugger swinging bridge over the Peabody River on your way out?. It and CM trail was the original route of the AT.
Yeah I need to check out all those Gorham trails, haven't explored them at all. And I avoided parking at the trailhead as I know there are surly homeowners there. I just park in the big dirt lot.