Trail Notes – August 13 (Carter Mts., Mt. Hight)

I had this huge long blog entry typed out yesterday and ready to publish when I had network, but the app ate it, so I must needs start all over again. Let’s see…

Sluggish, slow, unwilling to move Ziptie. The day was gray. The ground was wet. The sleeping bag was warm. And the schedule called for a late start. I did not hit the trail until about 10, and that very reluctantly.

I had been warned that the first climb, up North Carter Mt. would be steep and rocky. Well, it was, but much to my delight, my kind of steep and rocky. The kind of hand over hand climbing up rockfaces that requires total concentration and total awareness of one’s hands and feet positions at all times. Even more so because the rock was wet and hence slippery – but I was back to grippy granite instead of the sharp, craggy white rocks of the Presidentials that only hurt your hands.

After the challenge at North Carter, Middle Carter was rather an anticlimax. In fact, I wasn’t even sure when I reached the summit – there was no view and no sign. The path was sand and rock, nothing hard, but I am completely amazed by how different the mountains are on either side of Pinkham Notch- on one side, the Presidentials, on the other, dirt, sand, rock and pine. Amazing contrast!

One concern I did have was a five mile stretch with no water sources, but just before Zeta Pass on the trail, I heard the unmistakable bubbling of an unmarked spring, and a spring there was! I refilled my Camelbak, drank deep, refilled it again, then had a snack. I was refreshed and ready for any new challenges that lay ahead!

Except… There were not any! At least right away. The climb up Mt. Hight was a straightforward path up, easy to do. Likewise up Carter Dome. Both were rumored to have great views, but both were in the clouds. I did get a good picture on Mt. Hight, which I will try to upload later, illustrating what ‘in the clouds’ means.

My time schedule called for me to be at Carter Notch Hut, last of the AMC huts, after 5 pm, so I could do work for stay. As I summited Carter Dome, I was worried I would be too early, but I didn’t account for the ‘notch’ part of it – the trail does a deep v-line plunge down and back up again, and the hut sits at the bottom. It took a good chunk of time to reach it!

I was successful in getting a WFS spot, and very grateful for it – There were several downpours that night, but I was inside and dry. Happy. I am really going to miss those huts. Aside from WFS, I enjoyed being able to stop in, buy soup, lemonade, & baked goods, and fill up my water bottles for free. Lakes of the Clouds and Zeeland Falls were my two favorites. One for the views, and one for the falls! Carter Notch Hut had some pretty ponds nearby, too. 

I hiked on!

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