Father Daughter Bonding
What better way to bond with your father then to go on a hike? Our bonding started only about 3.5 years ago with a recreational snowshoe trip up Snows Mtn. in Waterville Valley, NH. Man did we think we were hot stuff going up a mountain, all 500 feet of elevation gain. It didn’t take long before that wasn’t enough for us. While searching for more trails in the area dad came across a website about the New Hampshire 4000footers. Six months later, on June 1, 2008 we conquered our first NH 4ker, Mt. Tecumseh. We were hooked. Although the views from the summit were limited it still felt so amazing. When could we get up to New Hampshire again to do the next mountain?
Flash forward to now and here we are doing our 39th NH 4ker. For the record we are also on our third pair of snowshoes each. This trips destination was Carter Dome (elevation 4,832ft). Joining us on the hike would be my friend Erica. She did South and Middle Carter with us over Labor Day weekend but this would be her first winter 4ker. Usually I let dad pick what mountain we do and the trails we take. After reading trip reports from others he decided on going Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to Carter Dome Trail to Zeta Pass to Carter-Moriah Trail. I wanted to stop by the Carter Notch Hut, so as we hiked I worked on convincing him to make a little loop out of it.
We got to the parking lot around 8:30am and it was packed. We ended up getting the last parking space. Nineteen Mile Brook Trail was well packed out with everyone going to the hut. Our traction of choice at first was Yaktrax Pros and none of us had any difficulty. We met some people coming back from a night at the hut and I asked if any of them had been to the summit and knew how the trail was from the hut. Unfortunately none of them had been up so dad wasn’t totally convinced yet. We got to the junction of Carter Dome Trail and it was evident that snowshoes would be necessary and that we would be breaking trail. This caused our pace to slow down considerably but we plowed on. I led first. After a while Erica offered to lead and I decided that since she runs half-marathons that she would be perfectly fine in the front. It wasn’t until a little before Zeta Pass that we can across some guys coming down. Thank goodness, they had broken some trail for us. At Zeta Pass we met a lady hiking by herself. She said that we would really enjoy going down to the hut. As she was going up to the summit there were people glissading down the trail back toward the hut. Dad and I love glissading so finally he agreed to make a little loop. Along the way we had seen some glimpses of the presidential range but no good open shots. Finally, along the Carter Dome Trail, we got some openings with beautiful shots. The sky was perfect. Right before the summit we got our best view. It was as if we were living in a postcard. The tiredness of hiking up melts away and is replaced with amazement and joy. Being able to see Mt. Washington without a cloud around it is awesome. The true summit is surrounded by trees so there is no great open view. Since there was a few feet of snow on the ground we were able to find another little opening to get some pictures.
I love gravity. It is great in the winter when you can slide down the trail whether in your snowshoes, boots, or on your butt. We went almost a mile down the Carter-Moriah Trail before it was time to glissade. It was very obvious when that time had come. The trail got very steep. Snowshoes off and time to sit down and enjoy the ride. I used the heels of my boots if I needed to slow down. Along the way I came across a sleeping pad and EMS Nalgene bottle that someone had lost. I picked them up and put them on my lap for the ride. Dad also found a water bottle. When the sliding was done we were almost at the hut. Erica and I went ahead and brought our found goods in to see if anyone there had lost them. Sure enough when we were waiting for dad to show up a man asked if we had seen a Nalgene. We told him it was inside along with a sleeping pad. He was very happy to have his lost items back. The sun had gone behind the mountains so we couldn’t linger long. After a brief rest it was time to get to the car. There was a short uphill right after the Carter Lakes but otherwise the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail was great going down. Dad put his snowshoes on, Erica had her Yaktrax on, and I went bare boot. The trip back was fast and uneventful. It was a long day having to break some trail, but the views more than made up for it.