The days were starting to get shorter so I decided on a peak that wasn’t too long in the time department but would still offer some nice views and a good challenge. I settled on Middle Carter and it would not disappoint in any of those categories.
I started off a little late so I wasn’t just racing to get up and down before keeling over but was also racing against the sun. According to my handy White Mountain Hiking Guide(ding ding), the lower part of the trail is a loop that you can start at two different points…..I of course screwed up and chose the longer portion of the loop but that was OK since I was cutting it close on time anyways(scratches head).
The lower loop was your typical trees and leaves with not much to see besides the occasional hiker I came across being carried down the mountain because of a sprained leg or laziness. I knew that could very well be me too in a few hours so I made sure to watch my footing and dot my i’s.
I eventually made it up to where the main trail veers off to the right, or the left depending on which direction in the lower loop you chose, so I went ahead and veered myself onto this trail. It was around this time that I ran into a group that was absolutely shocked that I wasn’t camping at the top since I was heading up so late. I quickly made my way past them just as one was starting to take a straight jacket out of his bag.
This 2nd half of the hike was considerably steeper as usually happens but I was actually making some good time. I ran into a few more folks coming down who made some more comments about my “late start.” One of the groups I actually ended up passing on the way down much to their chagrin but that’s a whole another story. After some grueling hiking, I finally breathed a sigh of relief as I breached the summit trail and was welcomed by an icy cold wind.
I thought I must be getting close to the summit as I set off to the right on the ridge trail but this was just that…a thought. It turns out I still had 45 minutes of hiking to do although most of it was fairly flat with a few nifty scrambled towards the end. I finally made it to the wooded in summit which gave a little break from the cold wind. Just as I was thinking I had to be the last creature up there, I heard a twig snap and turned around to face what could only be a bear. Turns out it was just some fellow hikers braving the chill. After some photos of the summit, I quickly made like a tree and left. 20 down, 28 to go!!!