Trip report

Wild River Wilderness / Moriah Loop Backpack:

Backpacking DATE: 08/05/2022 - 08/07/2022

Trip/Event Location: Gorham, NH

Trip Leader(s): Richardg

Max # People: 6

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

The Wild River Wilderness, in northeast New Hampshire, was designated by Congress as "Wilderness" in 2006.  Logged for many years and then burned by wildfires in 1903, the forest has

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

This backpack starts at the Carter Moriah Trailhead and ends at the Stony Brook Trailhead (1.3-mile road walk).

Meeting Point (Car Spot / Finish): Stony Brook Trailhead (44.36304514,-71.17784814): Junction of Stony Brook Road and Route 16, 2 miles south of Gorham, NH town center.

Hike Starting Point: Carter-Moriah Trailhead (44.2256,-71.101): From Gorham, follow US Rt. 2 East for 0.5 miles to Bangor St.  Park only on left side at the end of the road, just along the edge of the private property.

Trip Report/Photos

The four of us met on Friday, as planned, despite the thunderstorms forecast for Friday through Saturday.  Russ and I met in Gorham on Thursday and had a bite for dinner before going to Dolly Copp campground.   We set up my tent in the dark and had just turned in for the night when there was a biblical deluge of rain.   There was so much, intense rain that my tent floor was floating on it, and it was coming through the seams.  Russ had set up a tarp over his tent and was mostly protected from the storm. 

Early morning the rain had already ended, and we packed up our gear.   I threw my soaking, car camping tent in my car, and we went over to the AMC Joe Dodge Lodge for breakfast.   At 8:30 AM, we met Martin and Dan at the trailend, spotted our cars and started our hike up to Mt. Moriah.   It was a super humid day and the long ascent up this 4000-footer resulted in a lot of sweating and a lot of breaks throughout the day.   Carrying full packs over multiple summits is not to be underestimated and I am still struggling to get back into hiking condition after a sedentary year (or three)…

The weather was mostly fair, but humid with a few sprinkles as we hiked over Moriah, Middle Moriah and Shelburne-Moriah.   The views on Shelburne-Moriah were expansive, as expected.  We had a break to enjoy the views and then started our descent into the Wild River Wilderness.   We knew that there would be no water sources the entire day until about 1400 feet on Shelburne-Moriah.  Our plan was to carry at least 3 liters of water each and then refill after descending from Shelburne-Moriah.  The high humidity and long day resulted in all of us running low and a bit dehydrated.  The plan was to camp near water on the Shelburne trail, but all the stream beds were dry.   Martin hiked ahead and found a muddy hole he was able to filter some water from.  After that, we continued our descent hoping that once we got in the Wild River Wilderness, we would be able to find a running stream.  At some point we found a rivulet for refilling our bottles.  At around 7 PM, long after we had hoped to be enjoying our dinner, Martin slipped on a treacherous section of trail and fractured his foot.  We could not know the extent of his injury at this time, but his immediate swelling and bruising was a telltale sign it was serious.   The decision was to push on and we slowly made our way down the trail until we found a small stream less than a mile from the Wild River Campground.  It was a long day and we decided to camp there and assess our situation.   The next morning Russ and Dan hiked to the Wild River Campground, planning to drop their packs, complete the loop and return to the campground with cars to pick us up.   Martin and I hiked the remaining trail and river crossings to the Wild River Road.   We had walked only 10 minutes down the road when Russ and Dan pulled up in their cars.   A good Samaritan had driven them back to Gorham (we were in Maine) to get their cars.  This good luck saved us a full day of waiting for them to hike another 12 miles and return by car.

After picking up our cars we all had a bite in Gorham and hit the road back home and to the emergency room for Martin.

Martin took it like a champ and endured a lot of pain to be able to hike out on his fractured foot.  Hopefully, he will have a speedy recovery and we will try this one again.  

  There are 7 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • Kudos to Martin and the team for a self-rescue. Wishing a speedy recovery to Martin! - Gandalf

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

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Gandalf Aug 9, 2022 at 12:22 AM

Comment: Kudos to Martin and the team for a self-rescue. Wishing a speedy recovery to Martin!

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