|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Shelburne Moriah Mountain, Mt. Moriah, North Carter, Mt. Lethe, Middle Carter, South Carter, Carter Dome, NH|
||Shelburne Trail, Kenduskeag Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Rainbow Trail, Wild River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, June 8, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked on dirt surfaced lot for the Wild River/Basin Trails trailhead just before the campground. This is a fee area ($5 per day). This large lot has a kiosk and picnic table (though the bugs will do more eating than you). Privy available directly across the road. This was cleaned and stocked. Access to the trailhead lot is on dirt surfaced Wild River Rd. This is a good gravel road, passable by any vehicle. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||On the Shelburne (southern section), you must ford the Wild River. I elected to take off my boots and wear water shoes. The highest point the water reached was my thigh. Water levels are extremely low. Shallower areas were noted further up the river. But it was hot at 5:30am and I didn’t care to get wet.
All other water crossings present no issue. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Wild River trail: the section of trail between the junctions with Rainbow trail and East Branch trail are very overgrown and have several blow downs, many of which are lying directly on bog bridges. Part of the section past East Branch Trail heading towards Eagle Link is also overgrown, but this section is not as long as the prior. One small section of Rainbow Trail is very overgrown (the open birch forest near the start of the trail). The soil just above the ladder on the Kenduskeag has severely eroded. Not sure how much longer the ladder will be able to stay in place. Also on the Kenduskeag is a huge pine tree that is obstructing the trail just before the trail starts attacking the slopes of Moriah. It is being hiked around. East Branch Trail is missing the junction sign. Is this trail still in use? |
||The ledge scrambles ascending North Carter below the summit are very steep with limited foot/handholds. Some dogs may require lift assist, particularly if descending or if the rock is wet. The trail from North Carter to Carter Dome is dry. There is a small ladder on the Kenduskeag. |
||I am covered in bug bites. No amount of DNA altering DEET would keep them off me. In the words of Bill Bryson from “A Walk in the Woods;” “Bug repellant drives [the bugs] into erotic ecstasy.” |
|Lost and Found:
Shelburne trl (southern portion) > Kenduskeag trl > Carter-Moriah trl > Moriah summit spur > Carter Dome trl > Rainbow trl > Wild River trl.
I parked at the Wild River trailhead and did a 0.6 mile road walk to the Shelburne trailhead.
Shelburne trl: I should have not even bothered putting on boots until after the ford. The river ford is immediately after starting the trail (see crossing notes above). Across the river is half of a yellow blaze on a large birch tree. There are more yellow blazes, carins, and arrow signs aiding with navigation of the tributary crossings up to the border with the Wild River Wilderness. After the border there are no blazes. The footbed is well defined and simple to follow.
Kenduskeag: very few (I think I counted 4) and very faded blue blazes. I classify this trail as unblazed. The footbed is simple to follow. There is a large carin to mark the summit of Shelburne Moriah. Awesome bog bridges take you across the summit knob towards the slopes of Moriah. Great views. So much easier to get up this trail without ice! Finally this trail is traced.
Carter-Moriah: this is the AT and is well blazed in white blazes. The ridge is dry from just past the Imp campsite to the summit of Carter Dome. Supposedly there is a good spring past Carter Dome summit heading down towards Carter Notch. But I didn’t go that way this trip and cannot confirm. The guide says there may be water a bit down on the North Carter trail but I wouldn’t count on it. Everything is so dry.
Carter Dome trail: There were some blue blazes after the junction with Carter-Moriah, but that’s it. Short, rough, but sheltered segment that bypasses the summit of Mt. Hight.
Rainbow trail: not blazed. After descending off the summit of Carter Dome the trail that traverses the open knob is marked with carins and a couple of yellow paint splotches. These are very helpful. The footbed is much, much less travelled and therefore way more shallow than the Carter-Moriah. It is still simple to follow even through the “luxuriant undergrowth” in the open birch forest near the end of the trail. This is a beautiful trail. I saw Sasquatch Snowshoe Hare. Man, that sucker was HUGE.
Wild River trail: not blazed until after the Wilderness boundary. The Perkins Notch segment is extremely overgrown but I was able to follow the trail without issue. Perkins Notch tentsite is well signed. There are three tent pads and a cooking area. Water source is No Ketchum Pond. Past the campsite blue diamonds appear on trees. This was confusing as a) trails in the Wilderness are usually not blazed and b) diamonds are typically reserved for cross country skiing. I couldn’t discern a cross country ski trail anywhere once the diamonds stopped. At the junction with East Branch Trail, there is no sign for that trail, just the one for the Wild River trail. ? The encroaching vegetation abates once heading towards the Eagle Link junction. What a nice section of trail through here. I imagine in wetter summers there would be far more mud pits to navigate. The Spruce Brook tentsite is well signed and looks like a great place to camp.
This was a 26.2 mile hike circling the peaks of the Wild River Wilderness. June’s Carter grid done. 3 more trails traced. Totally worth 12 hours of being eaten by bugs…
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.