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Carter & Pinkham Notches

8 October 2016

Trip Report: 8–10 October 2016

A beautiful visit to White Mountains region in peak foliage colors. I was leading this trip for Family Committee of Appalachian Mountain Club.

We met in Pinkham Notch Joe Dodge Lodge on Saturday at 10:00 to distribute group food, shuttle cars, & start hiking by 11:00. This meant leaving Boston by 7:00.

We hiked on Saturday to Carter Notch hut, carrying our own food, warm sleeping bag, & very few other essentials. On Sunday we returned to Pinkham lodge via Wildcat ridge for generous dinner & group games. Monday was open to nearby short hikes & trip back home by 14:00.


The trip fee included two nights lodging & all six meals from Saturday dinner until Monday lunch.

We brought Saturday lunch to eat on trail, either from home or purchased it from Pinkham Notch lodge. We also carried some trail snacks.

Saturday dinner & Sunday breakfast were served in hut—participants helped carry the food. We used the hut’s stove, oven, cookware, & service-ware. We provided ingredients to prepare your favorite lunch.

Sunday dinner & Monday breakfast were served by Pinkham’s lodge staff in buffet style. Lunch bag was prepared for us to take on the trail.


Nineteen Mile Brook

We drove from Pinkham Notch lodge to Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead to start our hike by 11:00, leaving some cars behind to use next day.

This is the easiest route to the hut, climbing gently along the Nineteen-Mile Brook with a few crossings & bridges.

Location: 45.101335°N, 70.186618°W

Mt Hight

This bare summit commands the best views in the Carter-Moriah range. It was part of an extra loop some of us took Nineteen-Mile Brook to Zeta Pass, Mt Hight, & Carter Dome. It was an option for advanced hikers who wanted to go faster, climb higher, & eat more double chocolate brownies at dinner.

Location: 44.275825°N, 71.17038°W


The hut has several small cabins with 4–8 bunks each. A bunk with mattress & pillow were provided. Blankets are not available & the bunkhouse is unheated. We packed out all trash, recyclables, & food waste. That included the tooth floss. There is no electricity at the hut to charge devices. We used extra batteries or turn devices off.

Location: 44.260208°N, 71.194795°W


After a restful sleep, we woke up slowly with view of mountains, pond, & trees. We prepared hot pancakes & oatmeal breakfast, packed our lunch, & set on the Wildcat Ridge trail back to Pinkham.

After a steep climb, we reach Wildcat Mountain, the highest point on our trip at 4,422ft. The air was misty & foggy with no view into Carter Notch.

It was all downhill from there!

Not exactly. We still had three peaks to climb, each of them lower than the previous one:

  • We descended slightly before climbing to B Peak (4,330ft)
  • Longer descent before climbing to C Peak (4,298ft)
  • Steep descent to Wildcat Col, the deepest on the ridge, before a steep climb to D Peak (4,062ft) which has a recently rebuilt observation tower

Originally, we intended on descending via E Peak (4,046ft) before a very steep descent to Pinkham. However, due to wet weather & slippery rock, we decided to take the Pole Cat ski trail down. We liked that choice as it quickly opened up to wide views of northern Presidential range & colorful trees.

Near base lodge, the kids went for a ride on the zip line:

Back at Pinkham Notch lodge, we settled into our rooms, ate, took a big break, ate, showered, ate, & played games.


We took a short hike to Glen Ellis Falls:

On the return trip, some of us took a fast side trip to Square Ledge:

Location: 44.256788°N, 71.245575°W

We ate our lunch back at the lodge before driving back home.


Day Service Log
Saturday 8 October 2016: Carter Notch Bed: Carter Notch hut
  • Map: download GPX, FIT, TCX, KML, & other file format for GPS track
  • Distance: 12.62km
  • Pace: 30.02min/km
  • Time: 6:18:31
  • Ascent: 1,137m
  • Descent: 578m
Sunday: Wildcat Ridge Dinner, bed, breakfast, & lunch: Pinkham Notch Joe Dodge Lodge
  • Map
  • Distance: 12.98
  • Pace: 30:32
  • Time: 6:36:08
  • Ascent: 614
  • Descent: 1,000
  • Map
  • Distance: 6.65
  • Pace: 25:48
  • Time: 2:51:28
  • Ascent: 295
  • Descent: 299

  • Distance: 32.25
  • Pace: 29:20
  • Time: 15:46:07
  • Ascent: 2,046
  • Descent: 1,877

Required Packing List

  • Whistle for each participant with lanyard to carry around neck
  • Backpack with extra space (2–3 liters) to carry group food
  • Consider having children carry their own day or waist packs that include water, snacks, warm layers, & sleeping bag
  • Rain cover or plastic bag inside the bag to keep warm clothes dry
  • Water bottle
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain jacket & pants (regardless of rainy weather forecast, as they help with wind protection as well)
  • Hat (multiple for sun protection & warmth)
  • Gloves or glove liners
  • Warm fleece or down jacket
  • Wool socks
  • Sleeping bag (rated at least 20°F)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • First aid kit: antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, Band-Aid, gauge bandages, moleskin, sunscreen, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, &amp other medications
  • Toilet paper

Optional Packing List

The following is a list of optional items to bring or leave in the car until needed.

  • Shoes, sandals, or flip flops
  • Lip balm
  • Contact lens solution & case
  • Prescription glasses
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Deodorant
  • Comb (or light hat for the evening)
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera & charger
  • GPS & charger
  • Batteries
  • Sunglasses


WiFi was available at Pinkham Notch Lodge. Mobile phone reception was available occasionally from the ridge.

Phone Navigation with MAPS.ME

The app displays Open Street Map with most area trails, without the need for data connection. It is fast, reliable, & easy to use.

  • Install MAPS.ME app on your iPhone or Android phone.
  • Open the app
  • Open menu options from the three horizontal bars at the bottom right corner
  • Select Download Maps
  • In the subsequent menus, navigate to find the country & region to download maps for
  • Download New Hampshire



From → Hike

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