Mountains: Height, Carter Dome, South, Middle, North Carter, Moriah, Surprise
Location: 19 Mile BK TR, Carter Dome TR, Carter Moriah TR
Start/Finish Time: 2:30 AM 07/12 – 1:30 PM 07/13
Total miles: 17.2 Miles
Weather: Sunny and clear on Saturday. Cloudy with sun in the overcast Sunday.
Trail Log: Abby, Patton, and I started our day Saturday on the road from southern New Hampshire on our way to 19 Mile Brook parking lot. We arrived a little after 2 AM. Seeing that we still had our wits about us from the previous workday we decided to start hiking and hopefully make it in time for the sunrise. The sounds of the brook led the way from the trail head and we made great time to Carter Dome trail. Once we got around Zeta pass the light had grown enough to provide a full view of the surroundings. Some folks were camped out just before the pass and we tried to move on quietly. We were slowed a bit from this point, but we got to the summit of Height as the sun had risen on the new day.
Here we met a hiker named Kurt who also enjoyed the morning sights with us. It was a pleasure to have such a great meeting with someone in the woods. Folks are generally more open to good conversation. There was an assortment of mountain ranges for the eye to see and we tried to take full advantage of it over a well deserved snack.
Abby and I were starting to get tired at this point. Deciding not to waste much time we made a move on for Carter Dome in hopes of finding a good spot to take a nap. There was a pretty good spot right after the summit on the Carter Moriah trail but someone was still using it when we walked by, better luck next time. We made it all the way to Carter Dome without finding a suitable spot. We stayed a top the mountain for a few moments and said our farewells to Kurt as he went down into Carter Notch. Abby, Patton, and I were running on empty as we decided to go back to Zeta Pass and find a spot to rest for a few moments. We eventually did find a suitable spot to set up the hammock and we fell to sleep with little problems. After a short while I found it too hot to sleep. The sun had found our hiding place and it was time to move on to the Carters. Making our way up South Carter was hot and slow going on the little sleep and even less food we had going for us. We got to the top of South Carter and took a break to hydrate and get some calories in us to go on. Make sure if you are hiking this range to grab water around Zeta pass, or by Imp shelter because there is nothing on Carter ridge. We traversed the Carters without too much trouble even with the warnings of the oncoming hikers about the steep grades on the way down in regards to Patton. He made it just fine without assistance, though I could see some dogs needing a hand here. We made our way down to the Imp shelter for the night. The place was packed and all the tent platforms were taken. I set up the hammock in no time and we made dinner just as fast. We had a moment to take in the sunset from the opening in the trees. It was the great cap off to a wonderful day. We slept like babies that night.
The Next day we decided to sleep in and not hit the sunrise on Moriah. I think this was a good choice becasue when we did get up around 7 the clouds were out and it was pretty hazy. I doubt we would have got a good view anyways, and the sleep was top notch. We had to make it to Moriah and out to Gorham today. We got up and made breakfast with coffee. When staying at a shelter or campsite it is good practice to be considerate and pack out all your garbage and food scraps. The care taker was making a short movie on the importace of proper food disposle to prevent bear wencounters so I thought it was worth mentioning to you all. We cleaned up and got back on the trail about 8:30 or so. With our new day energy we made great time up to mount Moriah. I had not done the stretch of trail between North Carter and Moriah before and I had a blast. Lots of rock face to scramble up and some great walls to climb too. Patton had a blast.
When we got to the top we were greeted with heavy winds so we only had time to take a few pictures before our hats blew away. It was still really good to see the summit on a day like today especially after looking back at the ridge we had climbed over the past day and a half. It was very rewarding in the end to know we had covered so much ground together. It was an amazing end to an amazing hike.
From the summit we made the hike down and over mount Surprise. It was a great day but the rain was starting to roll in and our timing could not be better. Once we got into Gorham Abby and Patton waited in the park wile I hitched back to 19 mile brook. Thank goodness it only took about 20 minutes to get a ride and I was back to get Abby and Patton in no time. We made our way to Conway where we stopped at Moat mountain for burgers, beers, and the world cup final. Our timing was perfect. Germany won! Perfect cap to our amazing weekend filled with adventures.
Check out the rest of the photos HERE
Camping: Beside the hut in the notch and the Imp shelter there are plenty of good spots to grab a rest. Just observe all of the rules associated with the area you are in that particular moment. I would rcommend the site right on Height though as it looked great!
Trail Cautions: Water is huge this time of year. Make sure you get restocked before you hit your ridges out there!
Dog Notes: Many difficult terrain for your dogs here. Places include North Carter and the back side of Moriah. You might have to assist smaller dogs up the stone faces.
Difficulty: 8/10 Not too much technical climbing, just a lot of hiking.