Monday, June 30, 2003

Postcards from the Edge
Team Sellers completed an ambitious two-day traverse of the Carter Range up in the White Mtns this past weekend. Total mileage for the hike was about 23 miles, requiring 8 hours of hiking each day. Needless to day our legs and feet, arms and shoulders groan from the effort. Our adventure began at the Wild River Campground trailhead and we used the Shelburne Trail to gain the ledgy ridgeline of Shelburne Moriah Mtn. (3735'). From there we walked over exposed ledges and slabs and through areas of alpine bog where we had to walk over bog bridges. After a prolonged gradual descent, the trail resumed an upward tilt and after brief bit we emerged on the summit of Mt. Moriah (4049'). At the summit we talked with Alfredo, a guy from Mexico who had moved to Maine many years ago and had gotten into hiking by a girlfriend. She left him, but the hiking stayed. After a rest at the summit, we pressed on - determined to get to the Imp Campsite and set up tent. When we slogged in there, tired and spent, we found out that all tent platforms were occupied and that the only option available was to sleep in the shelter with a bunch of teens from a youth group. Nope! So we turned back around and marched further onward hoping to find a patch of clear ground in amongst the dense spruce thicket that is found at these elevations. Indeed, not much further we spied a suitable clearing down behind a rock ledge near the trail, so it was there that we set up camp, ate our bagels, tuna fish, and powerbars, and bedded down for the night - weary from the 10 hard miles that we had just finished.

Morning greeted us, and by 7AM we were packed up and moving forward. After a level section of bog bridges, we reached the base of North Carter Mtn. and endured the near vertical 700' ascent to reach the summit (4530'). We took a breather, ate more powerbars, and then carried onward across the relatively level ridgeline that includes the summits of Middle Carter Mtn. (4610') and South Carter Mtn. (4430'). The ridge was primarily dense spruce, with stretches of bog bridges and some exposed stretches. It was during these exposed stretches that we were treated to the most glorious views of Mt. Washington and the entire Presidential Range. After dropping down into Zeta Pass, we had to regain the ridgeline and by 11AM we neared the summit of Carter Dome. It was here that we decided (after already hiking 5 miles) that we should make our way back to the car, and to do so (by way of the Black Angel Trail, our exit trail) we still had another 7.4 miles to go. So we decided to leave the summit of Carter Dome for another day. Here is a view of the Carter Range and gives a glimpse of the peaks and ridges we had crossed over the course of our journey.


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