Saturday, June 7, 2014

South Carter - So Close, Yet So Far

So we did it again.  I mentioned in a previous post for Galehead Mountain that my early yearnings to be a purist when hiking the NH 48 4k's were dashed, and for good reason.  An extra 10-mile hike here or there using the same trail to reach a nearby summit that could have been bagged months earlier begins to knock some sense into one's purist mind.  South Carter was just one more notch in that belt.

This was our first 4k of 2014.  Mr. & Mrs. Slowsky (that would be us) need a few warm up hikes each year before we tackle a 4k.  We felt we were ready this weekend and South Carter was one on our list that was yet to be bagged.  Yes, we had done Middle Carter via the Imp Trail in the past.  Even worse, we had also done Carter Dome via the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail.  In the latter case we were within .8 of a mile of South Carter and in the former within 1.3 miles.  Why did we not bag it then?

I suppose that there is some balance as there is often another 4k just a mile or two away from the summit you are standing on.  Get to that next summit, and if only you could stretch just a bit more, there is yet another 4k a couple of miles away.  For me, 10-miles or so and I am beginning to wear out so that next summit is out of reach.  I still haven't figured out how we'll do the Bonds.  In any case, today we worked to fill the gap in our 4k list by hiking South Carter.

We used the Nineteen Mile Brook - Carter Dome - Carter-Moriah Trails today to summit South Carter.  The Nineteen Mile Brook Trailhead is about 1-mile north of the entrance to the Mount Washington Auto Road on Route 16.  It is a popular trail, at least partially due to it being the most direct route to accessing the AMC's Carter Notch Hut.  I like both the Nineteen Mile Brook and Carter Dome trails as you are often near a brook and the sound of falling water is always pleasing.  

It was a beautiful day for this hike, in fact a bit on the warm side as I soon learned.  With about 3-miles left on our 9.2 mile, 6.5 hour trek covering about 2,950' of elevation gain I began to feel burned out.  We hadn't been that far today and this segment of the hike was easy with only a moderate descent.  At some point it struck me that maybe I should drink more water, maybe I was dehydrated.  Sure enough, after downing about a liter of water over a short period from my bladder as we progressed, I became re-energized and began picking up my pace.  Gosh, I wish I could recognize this issue sooner.  This is not the first time this has happened to me.  This 245 lb. body sweats a lot climbing a mountain and it takes a lot of water to keep me hydrated.

Enough complaining.  On to some pics:

 I hadn't even begun and I looked tired.  :-)

The trail passes along water for miles.  It runs along both Nineteen Mile Brook and another tributary running along the Carter Dome trail.  I could have taken 100 pictures.  Here are just a couple.

All that effort and such a nondescript summit; except for the babe nearby!!

Just a few yards south of the actual summit there is a fine but small lookout.  For the most part these are the only views.  Pretty nonetheless.

Mt Hight is on the left and Carter-Dome is on the right.


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