Trip Report: Carter Dome

Carter Dome, Gorham, NH. 2019-02-16. (Saturday)

Via 19 Mile Brook trail, Carter Dome trail.

25 dF +/- and partly cloudy. Wind at summit was 10-25 knots. Even in the trees, winds approached 5-8 knots at times.

Trailhead: 1000; Carter Dome summit: 1400; back at car: 1730.

This was a weird one. I don’t know whether there was a thing going on, but I noticed all week long, whenever I went on a run, I couldn’t drop into a groove and just run — not for love or money. It just felt forced, unnatural, and not at all fluid. Instead of effortless, effortful. And today seemed an extension of that.

To be true, the trail was a bit crummy. Everything was at least moderately broken out. However, the snow of last week hadn’t consolidated, and it was a thick (around 4 inches) layer of fluffy powder that sucked out energy with every step, yielding less forward progress than I’d want. Adding insult to injury, there seemed to be a lot of blow-downs, and at the higher elevations, it seemed like the trees were encroaching to the point of absurd — grabbing, or at least retarding forward progress.

The trail up 19 Mile Brook was pleasant for the most part. It moved upward, but sedately, and with no rush. As I moved, so too did the clouds. I wasn’t always able to see much (and forget the Prezzies) but overall, there was a substantial bit of sun, which is always a plus. I made decent time, even if it wasn’t perfect.

Moving over to the Carter Dome Trail, things got tougher. I was going slow, having to dodge branches, clamber over and under and around blow-downs, and in general, deal with a less than perfect trail. (Honestly, a good sized college sports team could do a lot for the trail with just simple passage up and down. It just needs the effect of a lot of boots.) It began to annoy me that I had to concentrate on the trail to the detriment of concentrating on taking good pictures and video.

Around this time, the “third man” from when I hiked up Owl’s Head showed up. It was a pleasant distraction, having him around, because we could just chat on and on about past hikes, what’s on our various lists, and so on.

It seemed like forever, but I finally got to the top. I’d passed a few people along the way, shared pleasantries with them all rather enjoyably. Standing on top, I had something of a view, albeit attenuated by clouds. There was a slight bit of an undercast, which is always neat.

Turning back, I headed down. Just before the 19 Mile Brook trail, I ran into the PCT hikers mentioned in a previous post, and we shared each other’s company. Again, I was glad for the distraction, and they were good company. Just as dusk was falling, the noise of the cars on the roadway began filtering through the trees. And then, the car.

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