Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011.08.13 Middle Carter via Imp Trail

After a one week break from hiking, it was simply awesome to be back at it.  I'm hoping to hike every weekend at least thru October; no more breaks.  In fact, my 57th birthday is around the corner and as we were hiking today Sue asked what I might want as a gift.  The answer was easy.  "Book us a nice place to stay in the White Mountains for 5 or 6 days and then let's hike every other day (or more if we are up to it)."  Done deal according to Sue.  I sometimes wonder, would it be cheaper if we simply bought a home or condo in the White Mountains for all the time we are spending there and considering the cost of commuting back and forth!

I thought I might start this week's post by giving you some stats about our hiking day.

Wake up:  5:00 AM
Depart:  6:10 AM
Arrive at trailhead:  8:15 AM
Hit trail:  8:30 AM
Arrive Imp Cliff:  10:10 AM
Arrive Middle Carter Summit:  1:10 PM
Return to car:  5:10 PM
Arrive home:  7:30 PM
First cocktail poured:  7:50 PM
Distance hiked:  9.9 miles
Elevation start: 1,250'
Summit elevation: 4,600'
Total climb:  3,350'
Total hike duration:  8 hrs 40 minutes
Pain level:  Not bad
Would I repeat this hike:  Probably not
Would I hike to Imp Cliff again:  FOR SURE

Though this was a 'nice' hike, the best segment occurs early on and thereafter it is a bit mundane.  From the north trail head (there are two trail heads .2 miles apart) in about 2.2 miles we reached Imp Cliff and we covered that distance in about 1.75 hrs.  We had climbed about 1,850 feet but the views made it seem much higher.  The morning view across Pinkham Notch to Mount Washington and the Presidentials was beautiful, really beautiful.  What I loved about being here at mid-morning was how clear the view was.  In fact, it was crystal clear.  

On many days, if not most days in the summer, the haze sets in by midday and the views are often less impressive.  On this morning the air was clean and we could clearly see the Mount Washington Autoroad and the towers at the summit.

Let's move on to some pictures where you will find more commentary.

 Though we took our mandatory photo at this trail head sign, which was where we parked the car, we actually started our hike at the north trail head located about .2 miles away.  How did we get there?

Yes, we "hiked" along Route 16 until we reached the north trail head of the Imp Trail.  Because we were doing a loop, this allowed us to leave the car where we would end our hike as opposed to where we started our hike.  Seems odd to be "hiking" on asphalt!

Though not a great photo, I wanted to capture this sapling growing on the top of this boulder.  The boulder is moss covered and the sapling seems to be thriving well early in its life.

If it survives and grows, eventually its root system will find its way to the ground for water.  This mature tree growing 'from' this boulder was only a few hundred feet from the sapling shown in the last photo.

Early in our hike we arrive at a beautiful waterfall.  The pool at the base of the waterfall is relatively deep at what appeared to be 3-4'.

At just after 10:00 AM we arrive at Imp Cliff (the feature this trail is named after).  We have climbed about 1,850' already.  The views are crystal clear and beautiful.  We sat for a long time taking it all in.  This photo looks across to the north end of the Presidential range.  The three primary peaks you can see are (left to right) Mt Jefferson, Mt Adams and Mt Madison.

 Here is a clear shot across to Mount Washington which we hiked about a month ago.  Its summit is about twice as high above sea level as it is where we are standing (6,200' versus 3,100')

Here I have zoomed in on the base of Mount Washington where the Autoroad begins.  If you can see it in this photo, the parking lot was loaded with tents and campers.  It appears that there was some sort of bike race today (I assume up the Autoroad).

 Another photo of Mount Washington.


Sue is enjoying the view of the Presidentials.

Looking the other way from Imp Cliff, shows where we are headed.  We will spend the next mile or so skirting our way around the left side of this ravine.  Once we get around it, we will begin the climb further up towards Middle Carter Mountain.

Often on our hikes we seem to run into a rock formation similar to the one shown above.  I wonder why?

 Looks like a blueberry.  Not.

We have traveled about .9 miles from the Imp Cliff to this trail intersection (total hiked thus far = 3.3 miles).  We have 1.2 miles to our next intersection at the Carter Moriah Trail.  Once there, we will hike .6 more to the summit of Middle Carter at about 4,600'.

As we cross the ridge on the Carter Moriah Trail toward Middle Carter, we encounter several bog areas where the Appalachian Mountain Club has done yeoman's work to build these plank systems to keep people away from the sensitive vegitation.

We cross several of these bogs!

We've arrived near the summit of Middle Carter (actual summit is about 100 yds away from here).  The summit is hardly discernible and it was in the trees (no views).  Just before the summit though, we had views both east across the Wild River Wilderness to several smaller mountains that I cannot name.  And, west across Pinkam Notch towards the Presidentials.  Enjoy this series of photos.

I've turned 180 degrees and we are now looking west. That is Mount Washington in the distance and the next photo shows more of the Presidentials (further north). 

I'll close this week with a photo of some wildlife we came across on our way down.  Is that a pear tree?


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