Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mount Moriah Traverse

With reports of winter conditions on some summits during Saturday it appeared that Sunday was the better day for hiking. I would be joining Jill and Larry for a hike to Mount Moriah. Our route would take us up the Stony Brook Trail from Route 16 to the Carter-Moriah Trail over Mount Moriah and down the Carter-Moriah Trail to Bangor Street in Gorham.

It was a cool start to the day, 34°F when I left the house. The forecast called for a sunny morning clouding up by noon and showers in the late afternoon. We met in the small parking area on Bangor Street and carpooled over to the Stony Brook Trail parking area. It was a beautiful start to the morning with sunny skies and cumulus clouds. After a dousing with bug spray we hit the trail at about 8:00 AM.

The air was cool and fresh as we walked through the forest. This was my first time on the Stony Brook Trail. It was a gradual climb with a couple of easy water crossings and some wet rocks on the upper part of the trail. I used extra caution after slipping and falling on a hike two weeks ago. We reached the Carter-Moriah Trail junction and took a short break. There were some black flies buzzing around but didn't seem too interested in biting.

After our break we started up the Carter-Moriah Trail to Mount Moriah. We scrambled up numerous ledges along the way, some with spectacular views! The ledges were dry and we were able to scoot right up without any slippage. The last ledge climb before the summit was almost vertical requiring the use of hand holds. The trail swung around to the left and we walked up onto the summit.

We would be sharing the summit with numerous hikers today. There were several hikers there when we arrived and they kept coming and going while we took a nice break to eat lunch. I took several photos and my customary panoramic summit video. This was a popular hiking destination as the hikers just kept coming. The weather forecast called for clouds to thicken by noontime but there was still plenty of sunshine with lots of high cumulus clouds overhead. Off in the distance it looked like there might be some dark rain clouds but they never came over the summit.

As the hikers kept coming we decided to start our descent and make room for others on this small summit ledge. One thing I noticed about the hikers that were arriving from the northern approach of the Carter-Moriah Trail was that they were very muddy. As we started down it didn't take long before we were into the mud. So it was mud and steep ledges as we made our way down. The muddy sections were strategically located just before steep ledges so as to have our hiking boots nice and slick. We carefully maneuvered ourselves down over the series of ledges on this part of the trail. There was lots of tree hugging along the way. The bugs were out in full force and it was time to reapply more bug repellent.

It felt good to get past the last set of ledges without any serious slips, falls or tumbles. The lower section of trail continued over bare, dry ground without any rock hopping and my feet sure appreciated that. The bugs even seemed to diminish although not gone completely they were a lot less of a nuisance. The temperature even went down a few degrees through this section of woods. There was the last 100 yard drop to the end of Bangor Street and a short road walk back to the cars.

After slipping and falling while coming down from Franconia Ridge on the Falling Waters Trail two weeks ago I did not feel well enough to go hiking last weekend. This was a good post-injury hike and it felt great to get back out on the trail today.

We completed this 9.5 mile traverse in 6:45 including breaks. This was a nice route over Mount Moriah. My past hikes to this summit were only up and back on the Carter-Moriah Trail from Bangor Street. The hike up Stony Brook Trail was very enjoyable. The many ledge scrambles on the Carter-Moriah Trail to the summit were also fun, but probably a lot less fun on a wet day. Thanks to Jill and Larry for another fun and enjoyable hike!

Enjoy the photos!

 The hike starts here

 Bridge across Stony Brook

 Stony Brook

 Water crossing

 Larry has no problem crossing

 Jill easily crosses

 Quiet and cool in the early morning forest

 Another easy water crossing

 Painted trillium

 Red trillium

 Hobblebush blooming

 There were many bog bridges on this hike

 Carter-Moriah Trail junction

 First view

 Jill starts the ledge scramble

 Larry ledge scrambling

 More ledge scrambling

 Jill and Larry enjoying the view at the top of a ledge

 A view toward the northern Presidentials

 Pine Mountain below with Pliny and Pilot Ranges in the distance

 A view toward the Carters

 More ledge scrambling

 Ledge scrambling continues

 Ledges below with large boulders strewn about

 Rock slide

 Skirting around a section of water-filled trail

 Snow fields on the cone of Mount Washington

 Cloud-covered northern Presidentials

 The summit of Mount Moriah up ahead

 On top of another ledge

 Clouds plunge into Jefferson Ravine

 New signs

 Straight up to the summit

 A look back down from where we came

On the summit of Mount Moriah

Gray Jay on the summit

Starting our descent

A last bit of snow

More bog bridges

Tree hugging and crab crawling on a ledge

More painted trilliums

Descending another steep ledge

A view from below Mount Surprise

And descending more ledges

Looking down on the town of Gorham

Still more ledges

Reindeer lichen

Taking in another view

Larry attracted the most mud

One last view

A group of mushrooms

Larry taking the final steps on this 9.5 mile hike

At the end of the hike

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. Another adventure, glad you are feeling better. Thanks for the commentary and photos, Don.

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!