Saturday, March 30, 2013

Carter Notch Hut – Solo Spring Hiking


Carter Notch AMC Hut (3,300 feet) 
Trail: 19 Mile Brook Trail
Elevation Gain: 1,900 feet
Distance: 7.6 miles roundtrip
Duration: 6 hours (includes breaks along the trail and a stop at the hut)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

This weekend peakbagging took a backseat while I chased ice….ice caves that is…..and a boulder field too! I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day! The sun was out and the notch was just stunning with its early spring colors mixed with snow.

Dinner and a movie with my husband later tonight meant I wasn’t going to have a whole lot of time to spend at the hut. But I figured if I hurry, I just might get lucky. It took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the hut and this meant I would have about 2 hours to spend there. Yaaay! 

The Carter Lakes
And between the two Carter Lakes is the AMC Carter Notch Hut. 
I signed in and spent a few minutes eating fig newtons and sipping on hot cocoa.



Catherine, one of the hut guest, joined me on my search of the ice caves.  We couldn’t find it at first so Linc, the hut caretaker, showed us. Less than 200 feet from the hut and at the base of the Wildcat Mountain were large boulders and some small caves. There was no way to enter any of the caves since the snow there was so deep (at one point Linc helped pull my entire right leg out of a posthole). And since I had left my snowshoes in my truck, I didn’t see any point in continuing. Bummers, there was no way we could enter any of the caves to photograph the inside!!


At the Boulder field (The Ramparts) we took photos and sat
in awe of the stark contrast of boulders against the snow.

The Ramparts
Catherine (left) and Linc

With Carter Notch and the hut behind me. 
Wildcat Mountain on my right and Carter Dome on my left.
The Ramparts
Carter Dome

On my descent I kept my camera out and got a couple of photos







 From the trail, the green hue of the water here at the dam caught my eye. 
Of course I had to photograph it!   :-)



Overall, this hike was easy to moderate. There were a total of 27 other hikers and 3 dogs on the trail and at the hut. The trail was very well packed and wide in some parts which made for my quick ascent. As I ascended through the Carter Notch the temps dropped slightly and a breeze picked up. At the hut the temps here were cold with mild winds as we sat in the boulder field. But by the afternoon the temps had warmed up slightly and even more so as I descended the trail. The trail past the Carter Dome trail junction was slushy and slightly slippery in some spots. So happy and grateful that there’s still plenty of winter above 3,000 feet!