Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hot and Humid Day on Wildcat A

Another hot and humid one forecast for today. I got an early start in hopes of a semi-cool morning and missing the showers and thunderstorms predicted for later on. My plan for this hike was to summit Wildcat A (4,422 ft.) via the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail. Two weeks ago I hiked to Wildcat D (4,062 ft.), both of these are on the 4,000 footer list.
 Fog lifting as I leave for the trailhead

 Nineteen Mile Brook

There was plenty of parking available at the trailhead. The air was cool but humid as I stepped out into the parking lot. I strapped on my backpack and headed up the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail.

 Filtered sun through trees and haze

The forest was very wet from all the recent rain. There were sections of the trail that were actually a flowing brook but I had no problems walking through it. Nineteen Mile Brook had some good water flow and there were lots of nice waterfalls along the way.

 Carter Dome Trail junction

I briefly stopped at the first trail junction (Carter Dome Trail diverts left to Zeta Pass) long enough to get a photo and continued up Nineteen Mile Brook Trail. There were a lot of hikers coming down from the Carter Notch Hut, some were in large groups.

 A cool-down break before the final 0.7

 At the next trail junction I took a cool-down break. I was soaking wet with sweat at this point and there was just a wisp of a cool humid breeze. There was a half-moon over Wildcat A and I got a photo of that. After drinking some Gatorade I was ready to tackle the last 0.7 to the summit.

 Weather only a slug could love

 A framed Carter Dome

The Wildcat Ridge Trail wasted no time in going up. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. The other end of this trail is much steeper and longer. There was some nice scenery that started to come into view. I was also keeping my eye on the clouds, thunderstorms were in the forecast.

Looking down on Carter Notch

Close to the summit there is a spur path that leads to a fantastic viewpoint into Carter Notch and beyond. Thought I would take a nice break here, wasn't going to happen. The black flies were relentless and there was no wind to keep them at bay. After some photos I was on my way again.

 Doubleheads and Kearsarge in the distance

 Wildcat A summit

 Trying to hide

Leaving the outlook I noticed the small path that leads to the actual summit. It's rather anticlimactic, several small stones piled up into a miniature cairn in the middle of scrub trees. One more photo and I started my descent.

 Where the "ugly stick" comes ugly tree

There were very few hikers on this part of the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Of course it was a different story once I got back onto the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail. I was surprised back at the trailhead parking area. This lot is usually full with vehicles parked along Route 16 but there was still space available.

 Here's my snake for the middle of the trail

 Reflection pool

It was very hot and humid back at the trailhead. I planned ahead and had a thermos full of ice water waiting for me. That was some good planning!

 Back at the trailhead

Although I enjoyed this hike I am no fan of heat and humidity. I prefer a slightly cooler day with less humidity but was anxious to get out on the hiking trail. This was #15 on my list of 4,000 footers and I had a great time climbing this peak!

Panoramic view from Wildcat A

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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