Saturday gave our 5-hiker team a glorious early summer day, blue bird skies, a cooling breeze at the ridges and a curious lack of hikers along the ridge. It all amounted to a successful triple summit – Carter Dome, South Carter and Middle Carter – with a great gang. Our often companion Peter tagged along after a nearly 6-month hiatus from high summit hiking. Also with us was Chris, a first time 4,000-footer hiker. It was great to see him bag his first three and catch the White Mountain bug. Rounding out our troop was David, a 61 year old all star, hiking for decades, knowing the trails like the back of his hand. When all us youngins were panting up our third mountain, David was hauling arse and kicking ours. Unreal! A real honor to have him as a hiking companion.
Congrats to the whole team for a job well done!
Our plan for the day was ambitious. A three summit (four if you count the side trip to Mt. Hight Chris and Dan took) ridge hike that totaled a little under 14 miles. We hit the 19 Mile Brook trail at 7:30 a.m. and made great time to the Carter Hut. Meena and Dan had spent a wonderful winter overnight at the hut in March, but freezing temps had prevented a summit of Carter Dome then. Not today! After a brief rest at Carter Hut and partaking in a refreshing glass of lemonade, the team tackled the first big obstacle of the day – the climb to Carter Dome. From the hut, it’s 1550 feet in 1.2 miles. Slow and steady with views all around, we huffed and puffed and scrambled and sweated. But in the end, it took the team only about an hour to tag the day’s first 4,000-footer. Hearty congrats all around, in particular to Chris for his first, a real milestone!
Then it was on to the ridge. Dan and Chris shot off to top out on Mt. Hight, while the other took the low road and stopped for lunch at Zeta Pass, a quiet crossroads in the col between the Dome and South Carter.
Mt. Hight was spectacular and Chris got his first real exposure to above treeline hiking.
Then it was back on the trail for all to South Carter. The forest service recently pulled down the summit signs for this wooded summit, but the summit was obvious. Enough of the old sign remained that someone had wrote in South Carter and the elevation. More pictures, more handshaking. Then, down some more, then up, then more down, then up to Middle Carter. No sign here either, but a large clearing that was hard to miss.
Summit number three! It was getting to middle afternoon now, and the team was beginning to slow down. Peter strained his knee and we still have miles to go before we slept, so after a break on the northern shoulder of Middle Carter we bid farewell to the range and trotted down North Carter and the Imp Trail.
That stretch of the Carter-Moriah Trail is in fine shape, only a couple muddy patches, blow downs well cleared and no slides. A fine long journey, and a great trial run for Dan and Meena’s Presidential Traverse next Saturday.
Here’s some pics. The full catalog can be found here: http://danandmeenakshi.phanfare.com/4721042
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