|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Wildcat D, Wildcat C, Wildcat B, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, Mt. Hight, Middle Carter, South Carter, North Carter, Mt. Moriah, Mt. Surprise, NH|
||Ski trails, Wildcat Ridge Trail, Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Wednesday, November 11, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Only car at the CM trailhead at the end of Bangor St at 4:45am in the morning. None there or at the power lines when we returned at 5:30pm or so either. Plenty of parking at the ski area in the morning as well. Bangor St is paved and in a residential area thus is in good shape. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||None! Which is quite surprising given the length of this traverse :O |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Polecat Ski Trail and other ski trails are marked by signs at jcts with other ski trails but of course usually face the skiers coming down the mountain so aren’t always clearly visible. Very easy to find your way to the top of course but it may have helpful to have a GPS like Gaia or something to help you find the start of it and stay on it if that’s truly what you wish. Wildcat Ridge Trail and Carter-Moriah Trail (to Moriah) are both blazed in white as they coincide with the AT. Wildcat Ridge Trail’s blazing was pretty infrequent. I believe most blazes were few and far between. The blazing on Carter-Moriah Trail wasn’t frequent but more more regular than on Wildcat Ridge Trail. Blazed on both trails were in good shape (not faded). In any case, both trails are very well travelled and thus easy to follow when there’s no snow on the ground. Some parts along Carter-Moriah Trail that are beginning to grow in and could be trimmed. Not bad yet though but I’m sure that by next summer they will be. Carter-Moriah Trail from Kenduskeag Trail down for Gorham is blazed occasionally in blue. Not hard to follow except when on ledges when it wouldn’t be too hard to go the wrong way. There’s a cairn or two but not many (if any) blazes on the ledges. Not too many blowdowns on this route. I remember at least one on Wildcat Ridge Trail (closer to D...probably between D and C?). It may have been the same one that I saw there a few weeks ago when I did the Cats. It’s a duck under. There’s at least one duck under on Carter-Moriah Trail too but I forget where. I think the most blowdowns we saw were actually on the CM Trail down to Bangor St. One stepover that’s been delimbed and has probably been there awhile, and one large uprooted tree with a path around it on the lower portion of trail probably within a mile of the trailhead. All trail signs intact except for the one for CM Trail at the end of Bangor St. I could’ve sworn I saw it there in the morning but none of us could find it for an end of day selfie with our headlamps...!! |
||I wouldn’t bring the vast majority of hiking dogs on this route due to its strenuous ness and the steep scrambles on the north side of North Carter Mountain. You’d likely need to bring a lot of extra water too. |
|Lost and Found:
|| We found a pair of sunglasses on Mount Height. ||
||My first Wildcats-Carter-Moriah traverse to get 6 more peaks for my November grid. These were my 15th-20th peaks for this month and #s 23-28 for my November grid. 20 more to grid out the month :) |
The day started off warm and sunny with minimal wind. Better than predicted :) We could see the rain coming in a bit later in the morning though and on Middle Carter it started to spit on us. Never really rained but between the sprinkles on exposed ledge and the wind while on the CM Trail between Stony Brook and Moriah, it became a bit unpleasant. That said, it stopped raining by the time we got to Moriah and none of us ever felt the need for rain paints and only one of us used a rain jacket for maybe a half hour to an hour. If it rained much harder I would’ve used my rain jacket though.
Three of us started up Polecat Ski Trail from Wildcat Ski Area at 5:30am with headlamps. We took Polecat Ski Trail with a few detours to the summit. We didn’t need headlamps for long. A short but obviously “to the point” ascent with a lot of elevation gain over a short period although never very steep. Last time I went up Polecat, there was a bit of snow over most of the trail so I didn’t realize how rocky and eroded the ski trail was. Not bad but a bit of loose footing and sliding. It was pretty dry on the whole and there was only one brief snow patch we crossed. It took us about 1hr15min to reach the top of the ski area where we arrived around 6:45am. Took a nice long 20-30min break at the summit before departing.
Lots of steep, wet slab between there and Wildcat A. Lots of mud and wet spots on the trail but all manageable. Not too slippery. We made it from D to A in just over an hour (reaches summit of A at 8:30am). A steep descent down to the notch where we ran into the 4th person that would later be joining us, passed the beautiful Carter Lakes, then went up Carter Dome. I hadn’t done this trail in a few years and didn’t recollect it although I knew from word of mouth that it was very steep. It certainly didn’t disappoint. It is unrelenting for some time until it moderates as it approaches the summit.
We decided to go to Mount Hight for its spectacular views. We could see the rain approaching but the summits weren’t yet in the clouds. The trail was easier from here to North Carter but still very wet/muddy at times. In particular, some bog bridges were very slick as it began to sprinkle after we reached Middle Carter too. Other than the 4th person who caught back up to us around the viewpoint partway you Carter Dome, we saw two other people around the summit of Middle Carter. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen anyone earlier! The descent down from North Carter is brutal. There was a small ladder on a ledge we used to get down. We all noticed it didn’t look particularly sturdy but only the last one of us in line noticed that it actually wasn’t attached to anything. We thought that this was actually more dangerous than not having a ladder there (it’s not a big drop; many people will be able to step down from it, and, if not, it’s easy enough to sit down and scootch over) so we set the ladder aside. That marked the beginning of the very steep descent. We did a lot of butt scootching down wet slab here. Once done with that, the rest of the day was much easier. Only saw two other people the rest of the day; both at the summit of Moriah which we reached around 3:30pm or shortly before. We used our headlamps for maybe the last couple miles down CM Trail to Bangor St. The ledges were usually dry here with a couple exceptions where they were a bit wet and very slick and we butt scootched.
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.