Saturday, August 6, 2016
Start: 19 Mile Brook Trail Head
End: Rt. 2/Gorham
Miles: 15.4 (+3.6 miles on 19 Mile Brook trail, +0.6 miles for water) (19.6 miles total)
I ascended more than 5,000 feet in the course of the day and still managed to average over 2 MPH. The weather was nice overall. There were some passing clouds and perhaps 5 minutes of rain but overall, there was more blue sky than not. It was relatively humid at lower elevations but nearer the peaks, the breeze was cool and crisp.
I started my day’s hike at 19 Miles Brook Trail Head, heading out by 10am after leaving home at 6am to drive there. I did the 19 Mile Brook Trail in record time, climbing 1900′ of elevation over 3.6 miles in 1.25 hours. I swung by the Carter Notch hut (3388′) for water and a break, then climbed up to Carter Dome (4832′) and Mt Hight (4675′), then down to Zeta Pass (3890′), up South Carter Mountain (4430′), Middle Carter Mountain (4610′), Mt Lethe (4500′), North Carter Mountain (4530′), down to Imp Shelter and campsite (3120′), up to Mt Moriah (4000′), by Rattle River Shelter (1260′), and then down to Rt 2 (760′). I practically flew from the shelter to the road, doing the 1.9 miles in under 30 minutes.
On my way up Carter Dome, I met Sharine; she’s a newbie section hiker from DC. She’d never done backpacking before and was trying to hike from Pinkham Notch, NH to Caratunk, ME. I’d met her on her first day out. I gave her a breakdown of Southern Maine and tried to pass along some tips I had for AT hiking in general. We hiked together for maybe 15-20 minutes, chatting all the while. It was really nice to slow down and connect with a fellow section hiker on my day hike.
When I stopped at Imp Shelter and campsite for water, I found a group of 5 guys in their late teens by the water source. They were eating nuts and fruit and throwing the shells and peels all over the ground, within 10 feet of the water supply. One of them had just finished eating a can of stew and started asking if he could just throw the can into the woods; one of his friends noncommittally said that was probably not a great idea. On my way back up the side trail, I stopped in to discuss this issue with the caretaker. She looked angry and said she’d take care of it; she started down the trail to talk to them as I hiked back to the AT.
When I arrived at the Rt 2 parking lot at 7:30pm, I realized that my plan to hitchhike back to my car probably wouldn’t work; people were leaving Gorham, not driving towards it, and the sun was going to set within half an hour. I tried to hitch for maybe 10 minutes and only saw one car pass by. I decided to go by the White Mountains Lodge & Hostel and see if they were available for a shuttle. As it turns out, they were and I was able to be back to my car by 8pm, no muss or fuss.
This section connects my north and south section hiking pieces; I’ve now hiked from Monson, ME down to Pearisburg, VA. My next hike on the AT will be in September/October, down in VA, TN, and NC. Until then, I’ll content myself with local day and overnight hikes along the M-M trail, and maybe another visit to the Whites!