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Ascent of Middle Carter Mountain on 2007-07-03

Climber: Diane Mancino

Date:Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Middle Carter Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4600 ft / 1402 m

Ascent Trip Report

A 3 summit day in good weather and great company.

The plans changed at the trailhead to plan B when Magic was not at the trailhead at our Meetup time. His car had unfortunately broken down, and he couldn't reach us in time, so Karen D and I decided to tag South and Middle Carter mountains- something I've been trying to do for a while. The weather was cloudy, but clearing after a recent rain, and trailhead morning temperature was 57 degrees.

Out original plans were to stop at the Carter Notch hut to join the NYC meetup group that was hiking a section of th AT, so we carried 2 liters of water each. Maybe Magic was delayed and he would catch up with us. 19 mile trail has a few junctions, and we would proceed to Zeta pass instead of the hut if it was just us.
I did get a call on my new cell phone, but wasn't charged enough to use.....fate.

This was my 3rd time up 19 mile trail, the first time without snow. The trail is sometimes rocky, other times smooth. I'd describe the elevation gain as sometimes easy, other times moderate, especially closer to the upper trail.

A novice hiker would enjoy this trail even if it was just to the junction and back to the trailhead.

Karen and I reached Zeta Pass, had a quick break, and decided to summit Mt Hight (4675') first since it is the #1 summit here for views.....and everyone we met said it was a great day for it. It was! This was the most strenuous climb of the day, but with great views, a great victory to summit. This was the first big hike since my eye surgery, and it was even more fantastic to see every little detail without glasses. We took photos & video and retraced back to Zeta Pass.

Feeling strong, we freshened up in an opening on the Carter Moriah trail- it looked like a camp area, that I later read had water springs there- the trail was swampy but there are wooden planks to walk on (I read they were brought in by helicopter)- easy footing until you reach the somewhat but easy rocky ascend to South Carter. There we met one of many Thru-Hikers since this is part of the Appalachian Trail (White Blazes). "Matt" was making his way from Maine and ending in Georgia & this was day # 3 for him. One thing nice about a July hike is that there are many hours of daylight, and stopping for a conversation is just part of the journey and not to be missed.

Matt took our picture at the South Carter (4430 Ft ) summit sign. We ate & watered up and made our way to our final summit of the day. We are now taking note of how much water is left in our packs and I'm glad I have a empty water filter bottle packed for the hike down.

Karen checked the map again- Middle Carter (4610 Ft) is just 2.2 miles from Zeta Pass. The trail is very pleasant, flat ridge trail until we started to climb again.
We ascended and descended several rocky vantage points looking for the Middle Carter sign and finally stood on a big flat boulder ledge, that we would have had to climb down (very tired) to search farther for a summit sign of Middle Carter-

I left my almost useless Garmin GPS at home, not realizing it would have been finally handy. Where is the summit sign???? Is it on the trail, could we have past it, or did we just about make it? Everything after this point was a big descend down a ledge and we had to hike down, so took photos/video and were content that we we had arrived or walked past it.

You have to remember that this was an exploratory hike since it was new for both of us- and that was part of the fun-But at that very moment, it would have been nice to know where that wooded summit sign was.

The hike back to the trailhead was quiet, we never passed another hiker, and never did run into the NYC group who would be hiking past us if the timing was right. We will find out the details when they get home, on how close we got to intersecting.

Back at Zeta Junction, we rationed the last liter of water. I was finally going to get to try out my AquaPura filtered water bottle when I reached the 19 Mile brook.The water in the brook is clear and cold, but don't be deceived- it needs to be purified.

The bottle worked great- you can't drink the water quickly, but drink it slowly as it is filtered as you suck on the spout. http://giardiaclub.co...

We reached the trailhead at 7:30 pm, tired but happy hikers. Karen changed her shoes and got out the White Mountain guide book-Middle Carter does have a sign. But it's in a wooded area.

Fate! I'll repeat this from the imp trail
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:moderate
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy



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