Mt. Hight and Carter Dome
By Mike Boisvert.
James, Jon and I got up nice and early Saturday morning in New Hampshire, around 6:30, and headed off to the Mt Washington valley. The drive over was not too bad, the Presidentials were socked in. We got to the trailhead around 8. Carter Dome (4,832 ft.) has a scrub fringed top with limited views. Mt. Hight (4,675 ft.) is a bare rock peak with the best views in the Carter Range.
We started up the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail around 8:15, and the parking lot was almost empty at that time. The air was rather cool that morning, windy, and snow showers lingered throughout the day. We had to wear gloves to keep our hands warm. I guess it must have been right around the freezing mark at that time in the morning. We were 1.9 miles away from the next junction, and the trail was rather easy, ascending moderately but a quick walk. When we got to the next junction we went up the Carter Dome Trail, that was also a moderate ascent, nothing steep, and also a quick walk. There were a couple of stream crossings and they were fine. As we climbed higher we began to run into a little bit of ice and a dusting of snow. So the trail was in very good shape.
After a while we connected with the Appalachian Trail and started the trek up to Mt Hight. We had yet to see anyone hiking. Near the top of Mt. Hight, Jon changed into dry clothing. We put on our goggles and balaclava in preparation for the cold wind above treeline. At the top of Mt Hight we looked around and the snow showers obscured views of the Presidentials. We took a few pics of each other on the summit. The wind was about 30 mph. With the temperature at 26 degrees, it felt much colder. We did not linger very long. It had taken us about 3 hours to get here. From here it was a 15 minute walk over to Carter Dome. When we got to the top of Carter Dome we saw the two hikers we met at the parking lot -- the only hikers we had run into the entire day. We hung around the top for a quick break, and then headed down to the Carter Notch Hut. As we descended it felt like the winds were getting stronger.
The trek down to the Carter Notch Hut was moderate for the first 1/2 mile. We took a a side trail and saw this great view of the entire Carter Notch. It was pretty steep the remaining distance to the Carter Notch Hut, about a 1/2 mile down from the viewpoint. We decided to check out the Carter Notch Hut and have lunch inside. I took a few pics of the pond. The whole area was pretty nice. It was about 1:00 at this point, and after a half hour we made our way back to car.
Taking the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail out, it was a lovely walk along the river. Snow showers were still with us. We saw a few people coming up to the Carter Notch Hut as we descended the trail. We reached the parking lot a bit before 4 o'clock, an 8 hour hike. The hike was 11.3 miles and around 4,500 feet elevation gain. It felt great.
We headed out back to the Rock N River Lodge afterwards to meet up with Heather and Cole, James's wife and 3 month old son. I woke up Sunday morning and looked out the window to a crystal clear blue sky with little wind. It was beautiful. We took a short hike in Waterville Valley and saw the snow guns operating up high for the skiers next weekend. It appears winter is finally waking up.
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