Tuesday, October 9, 2012

#28 - # 32: Three Carters & Two Cats, Oct 8 & 9, 2012

Oct 8:  M. Carter(#28),   S. Carter(#29),  Mt Hight,  Carter Dome #30
Oct 9: Wildcat "A"(#31), Wildcats "B" thru "C", WildCat "D" (#32)

  Day1:  Drove to Wildcat Mt ski area and stashed a bike,  Drove 3 miles down rt 16 to 19-mile trail trailhead,~ 0.6 mile road hike to Camp Dodge,   ~0.2 mile easy bushwack to Imp trail., 8.7 mile hike
to Carter Notch Hut on Imp and Carter-Moriah trail .
 Day 2:  3 mile hike from Carter Notch Hut to top of Wildcat "D.  ~1.5 miles down the ski slope to my stashed bike, ~3.0 mostley down bike ride to bcak to my truck.

This is a hike that I had originally planned to do last month with my grandson Kris, but it was canceled because of weather.   I ended up doing it solo on the above dates.  The final hike ended up being a two day loop hut hike starting at the 19-Mile trail trailhead, 1/2 mile walk down Rt 16 to Camp Dodge, a short bushwhack to Imp trail, up Imp and North Carter trails to the Carter-Moriah trail. Then, heading South I baggied Middle Carter(#28),  South Carter(#29),  Mt Hight (thanks for the good advice Chris), and Carter Dome(#30), and then continued to the AMC Carter Notch Hut for an off season over night. Second day continued up the Wildcat Ridge trail bagging Wildcat "A" (#31), and Wildcat "D"(#32),  then down the most northern Wildcat ski trails to a short bushwhack to the northern parking lot of the Ski area to a bicycle that I had stashed in the woods the morning before and finally a fast 3 mile downhill bike ride down Rt 16 back to the 19-mile Trail trail-head.

The weather was all over the place for this two day hut hike. First day started clear but ended up with heavy mist and snow mist that actually started getting uncomfortable and forced me to add layers then, cleared just long enough to get great views from Mt Hight with great views all around. Tuesday was fogged in all morning until 15 minutes after starting down Polecat ski slope. Then great views of the foliage and the white capped Presidents while hiking down, other than Washington which still stayed in the clouds. Foliage in the valley was fantasticc, but still not as multi colored as from Waterville Valley slopes after Tecumseh a week earlier. Workers were busy weed-whacking tall grass on the ski trails (see pics).

Most eventfull part of the hike was while I was gearing up at the 19-mile trail-head on Monday morning. I was startled (scared actually) by a huge bull moose charging down RT 16, seemingly right at me. I jumped behind my truck and he darted just on the other side of the truck and into the woods. He probably had just crossed the road and was trying to get back into the woods that were blocked by cars and a road barrier. God he was huge!!

I had stashed a bike in the woods at the Wildcat ski area Monday morning. The bike ride from the ski area to 19-mile trail head is almost all downhill and saved me an hour of road hiking at the end of the 2 day hike.

Snow started appearing above 3500 ft , mostly in the trees and not on the trails but also packed on the bog bridges along the Carter Ridge trails.  I was pretty much exhausted by the time I got to Carter Notch Hut Monday evening. The hut was in the self-service season which means you have to bring and cook your own food but you have full use of the kitchen, stove, pots,  pans,  plates, bowls,  etc.  The bunks only have mattresses and pillows in the off season so you need to bring your sleeping bag.   Not being a Saturday, the hut was less then half full and I was able to get a 6 bunk bunk room all to myself (see pictures).    $25 for shelter, a nice bunk and mattress, kitchen facilities, water supply, and bathroom facilities is a pretty good deal I think.  

First day was a bit tough but I thought the second day would be easy once I got past the steep climb out of the notch.  Wrong!!  Lots of PUDS (pointless up and downs)  between "A" and "D" . When I arrived at the tower on "D" it was still overcast with no views. I went down to the top of the ski lift and gave my wife Debi a call to check out the webcam there while I took a break at a picnic table that was in its view. She did sort of see me but mostley just haze. However,15 minutes after starting down the polecat ski slope, the sky cleared and I could see most of the white capped Presidents and the great foliage below. Washington did stay in the clouds all the way down.  Near the end of the slopes I could see the north parking lot through the trees near were I had stashed my bike the morning before, so I did a short bushwhack across a wooded valley to the lot and saved myself another 15-20 minutes.

The  3 mile bike ride back to 19-mile trail head was mostly just a fast coast (my GPS said I got up to 25 mph).

Click on pictures to enlarge.

 Imp trail below 3500'

Imp (or N. Carter) above 3500'

Top of N. Carter  Trail at Carter - Moriah Trail

Bog Bridges along Carter Ridge

First break in the cloads looking toward M. Carter (I think)

#28 Middle Carter Peak - not very impressive

View from the Carter Ridge.

#29 South Carter Peak - Also not too impessive.

Sign for Alpine Area going up Mt Hight

Views from Mt Hight -
well worth the extra elevation change.

 More views from Mt Hight
Still more views from Mt Hight.

What I thought was Carter Dome Peak

#30 Actual Carter Dome Peak

View from Carter Ridge
Just before the very steep drop off to Cart Notch and the Hut.

 One of the two small lakes near the Hut,
A family fishing there said it was stocked with small troat.

My private bunk room at Carter Notch Hut.
 Everything is airing and drying out

A toast to a great day in the Whites.
The extra 22 oz of weight was almost worth it.

1 of 2 bunk houses

Main hut dining area

Hut kitchen.

 Hut stove.

An early start up Wildcat "A"

Most of Tuesday looked like this.

Near Wildcat "A" summit #31 -
It must have been an easy hike up - I think I'm actually smiling!

zigzag bog bridges on Wildcat Ridge- looked new

Tower on top of Wildcat "D" #32  -
Can you see Mt Washington over my right shoulder?

Top of the ski lift.
I think the Presidents are somewhere behind the fog.

15 minutes after heading down, the fog starts to clear.
I was tempted, but I wasn't about to hike back up for the views.

Dozens of workers on the slopes weed-wacking the tall grass
getting ready for the ski season.

Cloads still clearing.

Views kept getting better.

Access road along beginner slopes was a bit muddy.

Back at 19 Mile Trail Head.
Weather could have been better, but still -
one of my better hikes.



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