I got an early start and was on the trail by 7 AM. At first it was mostly dirt and I barebooted. There were plenty of icy patches but most were easily avoided. At 3/4 mile I decided to put on the microspikes for a tricky ledge section but I left 'em on - should've removed them as there was plenty of dirt over the next mile. By the time I turned onto the Carter Dome Trail at mile 2 it was mostly ice/snow and the spikes stayed on. There was a tricky water crossing on this trail and one tough ice dam to climb over but otherwise the trail was easy going.
|Nice bridge set up to cross the 19 Mile Brook|
|Frozen beauty on the water|
|Mt Hight featured the only real steep/snow of the day|
The trail leads up to Zeta Pass and after a short break I made the quick trip to South Carter. There are no views on South Carter. It's totally forested but it's another 4k checked off. I arrived back at Zeta Pass with plenty of time left so it was an easy decision to head up to Mt. Hight. The trail up to Hight was much less traveled and the snow was much deeper. The trail itself was steep and between the grade and the snow it was slow going. It was only about a 1/3 mile of this climb and then the trail opened up to the bare summit of Mt. Hight.
|Northern presidentials in the background|
|Enough snow on the summit to still feel like winter|
|Hard to tell but the brook was a great mix of churning water and ice|
Incredible 360 views on Hight and I hung out a while and ate lunch. Then it was a quick trip back down to Zeta Pass. The last four miles were an easy grade and I finally saw other people for the first time. I probably passed about 30 people heading up on the way down. Towards the bottom I encountered some folks a good mile into the trail who were clearly not expecting so much ice. Sorry folks, still too early! This was a fun hike and I covered the ten miles in just over five hours which I was happy with. The drive home wasn't too bad and the snow never really showed up that evening.
This was NH 4k #33 for me.