Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hiking Across the Carters

I've done a lot of hiking on the Presidential summits over the past month. I wanted to jump across Pinkham Notch and hike the Carters today. My hike would start at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail parking lot with a road walk down to Dodge Camp, then the shortcut to the Imp Trail up to the North Carter Trail onto the Carter-Moriah Trail. The hike would continue south over Middle Carter (4,610') then over South Carter (4,430') dropping down to Zeta Pass and up to Mount Hight (4,675') continuing on to Carter Dome (4,832') descending to Carter Lakes and down the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to the parking lot completing the loop.

The forecast called for clear skies and temps in the 80's today. I was getting an early start to try and beat the heat. My drive to the trailhead began as the sun was just rising. I stopped and got a quick pic of the sunrise then not much further down the road was a moose in a mud hole. This day was already off to a good start. I arrived at the Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead and got one of the few remaining parking spots.

I was soon starting my road walk north on Route 16 to Dodge Camp. I walked up through the camp and didn't see anyone, everyone must have still been sleeping. I wasn't quite sure where the shortcut path to the Imp Trail would be. The last time I did this was in the winter and I followed the broken path through the snow. But I had no problem and the road lead me straight to the path.

It was a short hike to the Imp Trail, I turned right and began the gradual ascent to the North Carter Trail. When I reached the trail junction I took a break. While sitting beside the trail I met Jim, the first hiker I would see today. Jim and I struck up a conversation and we would be seeing each again throughout the day. He was on the way to North Carter and I was going the opposite direction. We parted company and went our separate ways.

I reached the summit of Middle Carter and took a short side path that had some views to the east. There are many bog bridges on the Carter Moriah Trail and not really needed during this dry spell but probably a welcome sight in wet conditions. I heard a sound and saw a branch move but could not see what was just off the trail, I kept going. A few steep sections along the way and I was on the viewless summit of South Carter. Jim, whom I met earlier came up behind me and asked if I had seen the moose. I hadn't but that's probably what I heard and what made the branch move.

Jim and I spoke for a few minutes then he left before me on his way to Carter Dome, I would be following but a bit slower. I got down to Zeta Pass and ate my sandwhich. There were a lot of hikers passing through here. I ate fast and was soon on my way to Mount Hight. It was a short hike to the turn up to Mount Hight. This was the steepest ascent of the day and after a 0.4 mile climb I was on the summit of Mount Hight. Once again I saw Jim and he was just about to leave the summit continuing south on the Carter Moriah Trail.

The summit of Mount Hight offers one of my favorite views in the White Mountains. Even though it has an elevation of 4,675' it does not meet the requirements to be included in the 4,000 footer club. But the view is well worth the effort to include it in a hike of the Carters. I got my panoramic video and some other great shots before the black flies drove me on.

I was now on my way to the final summit of the day. It's a nice, easy climb along this section of the Carter Moriah Trail. Just as I came up on the summit of Carter Dome I once again met Jim backtracking off this summit. I asked him why he wasn't making the loop. A quick check of his map and he decided to make the loop and joined me for the rest of the hike back to the parking lot. Bugs were still swarming but as long as I kept moving they were not a problem. We started our descent.

There were many hikers coming up as we were going down. The lower part of this trail is very steep and I was glad to be going down and not up. We got down to Carter Lake and then the short ascent to the Wildcat Ridge Trail junction and it was all downhill from there. Jim has a fast pace and we were flying down the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail for the 3.5 miles to the parking lot on Route 16.

I was back at the parking lot after 9 hours, 14.5 miles and 4 4,000 footers. I know, Mount Hight doesn't count. It was great meeting Jim on the trail and hiking back down with him. I'm not a fan of hiking in hot weather but the temperature was comfortable and tolerable, much better than I had anticipated and I was thankful for that. The bugs were somewhat intolerable but only when stopped. This was my first time hiking all the Carters on the 4,000 footer list in one hike. It was a great day of weather with spectacular views and I thoroughly enjoyed this hike!

Enjoy the photos!

Up with the rising sun

Spotted this moose on the drive to the trailhead

Walking through Dodge Camp

Imp Trail to the left and Dodge Camp shortcut to the right

Imp Trail

North Carter Trail junction


Carter-Moriah Trail junction

Bog bridges begin

Lots of bog bridges on the Carter-Moriah Trail

Middle Carter up ahead

Mount Adams

Northern Presidentials

Southeast view from Middle Carter

Northeast view from Middle Carter

More bog bridges

Mount Washington

Labrador tea

Climbing up to South Carter

More up!

Mount Hight and Carter Dome

On the viewless summit of South Carter

Zeta Pass

Carter Moriah Trail to the summit of Mount Hight

Steep climb to the top of Mount Hight

Looking back at Middle and North Carters

Enjoying the views from Mount Hight

Lots of labrador tea in bloom today

Carter Moriah and Carter Dome trails

Standing on the summit of Carter Dome

A wildcat looking across Carter Notch to the Wildcats

Carter lakes and Carter Notch Hut far below

Looking up at Wildcat A from Carter Lake

Carter Lake reflection

Bluebead lily

Lady slipper

New bridge on the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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