Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carter Notch Hut Via Nineteen Mile Brook Trail

Pulling into the trailhead parking lot I expected to see it filled to capacity on such a nice weekend. The forecast of cold and windy must have been a deterrent and there was plenty of parking to be had. Stepping out into the elements it was definitely cold with a stiff breeze blowing. The wind was the overwhelming factor to deal with today.

Walking along the Nineteen Mile Brook this morning was beautiful. There was plenty of water flowing down over the rocks and boulders. At 1.2 miles I was busy looking at the dam in the brook and didn't notice I almost stepped on a large turkey hiding on the edge of the trail. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and it flew off with much haste.

Soon after passing the trail junction where the Carter Dome Trail diverges left the first small amounts of snow and ice were noticeable on the trail. I met my first hikers of the day, a man and two boys. I asked the man if there would be more ice up further and he said there was and that he had slipped and fallen. Continuing on the ice was easy to navigate and the microspikes stayed in the backpack.

The more elevation gain the stronger the wind blew. I reached Carter Lake and the wind was whipping across the water. As I rounded the lake there was a strange howling noise that sounded like something out of a horror movie. I peered through the woods looking for maybe a dog or other animal and saw nothing. The Carter Notch Hut looked inviting and I went in. No one was there but the wood stove was warm and welcoming. A hiker arrived with his four-legged hiking partner, a very friendly chocolate lab. Then the hut caretaker came in and we all chatted for a while and I had a bite to eat. While we were talking I identified the noise that I heard earlier, it was the wind anenometer on top of the hut. Wind speed was gusting 35 to 40 mph.

It was time to leave and I headed for some boulders to take a few photos before departing for the trip back down. This was almost a mistake and I'm glad no one was around to see the comedy show that was about to take place. In the process of setting up the camera a wind gust caught me off guard and knocked me off my feet and into a boulder. Yup, that's gonna make a bruise but I won't tell you where. Then as the camera snapped the photo I watched my glove blow away in the wind, you can see my face as I'm watching it. The wind was relentless. Enough photos, I was ready to get out of there.

The descent was going just fine. I was carefully watching my step and avoiding the ice on the trail. Guess I must have missed one spot and I slipped and took a hard fall. Yup, another bruise. This time my right elbow. I got up, brushed myself off and continued on my way. There were no more adverse events for the rest of the hike to the trailhead parking lot.

Today was a solo adventure, my little hiking buddy had other plans. This was a very pleasant and enjoyable hike. I look forward to returning to hike the 4,000 footers in this area.

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