Skip to main content

Mount Moriah by way of Rattle River (AT)

Sometimes things fall into place perfectly and you are not even effected by a steep trail.... Today, I hiked up to Mt. Moriah from the Gorham side on the Rattle River Trail. Another trail I had never been on and another section of the AT to complete. Isis and I were in good shape and we'd be well sheltered from the heat of the day. The first 1.6 miles to the Rattle River Shelter is really mellow and nice. The trail is wide as it's an old road bed... I don't want to jinx it by saying that I loved the trail too early. But I was thinking it. There are a few meager water crossings leading up to the shelter but nothing that cannot be managed (we need rain really bad). We approach the shelter and I see a dog's tail. I announce our arrival but we keep moving through... It looked like two Thru Hikers were just starting their day but they were nice enough to control their dog as we moved through. 

As we continued the next 2.6 miles to the Kenduskeag Trail would be a nice mix at first. Isis and I crossed two more water crossings on the river and those were over large rocks. Isis was so proud of herself on the last one that she climbed the last big rock and demanded treats after licking my face. How could I not give them to her? It was shortly after this that the trail starts climbing...

You know how in the Whites there are those rock stairs that are never quite even... There are a lot of them on this trail. It's getting to be a hot day so, I am slowing us down and being mindful of Isis and water. There are a few seeps for her to drink from but I am ready with extra should I need it. The trail is quiet and I'm just loving the forest. Today feels great for a change... Not a care in the world. But I am starting to sweat out of my cloths on this steep section. Isis and I ran into two other section hikers coming down. Older guys who are just coming off the complete traverse. Boy were they happy to be going down... Carter Moriah range is tough! It was nice chatting with them about the trail and the trail beyond New Hampshire. At this point, Isis and I are close to the Kenduskeag Trail junction and we push up to the top. A sigh of relief as we are greeted by flat bog bridges... My feet and legs get a nice break. Maybe even for the next 1.5 miles to the junction with the spur to the summit. 

It wasn't all bog bridges but it was pretty close. There were a few sections that were steep and some that were thin as far as the trail goes. As Isis and I approached the junction of the Carter Moriah Trail and the spur to the summit, I heard people... 2 day hikers were coming down the steep .1 to the summit and informed me that there were a lot of people up there. I figured we'd see what we could see. Scrambling up the .1 (almost a chimney) to the summit, Isis and I did very well. She trusts me to lift her to the next section and I have enough room to get up myself. We break the trees just below the summit and I see that it is indeed crowded. I check out the lower views (not that much lower than the summit) and once Isis had rested, she let me know she'd like to go to the top. Isis is her own dog and I follow her lead a lot. She may be moody and choosy with others but she knows that I have her back and she trusts me. When we came out to the outlook, It was indeed crowded with 5 or 6 day hikers and one dog. Both dogs managed well with each other and Isis and I got our picture taken. We ducked back down and then I stood at the top of the spur... Looking down at the trail signs was kind of daunting. 

What looks daunting was really quite easy to get down... Even with a dog on leash. We both did very well and then began the walk out. We would only see one other from the summit after this. Going back over the way we came, the flat sections were of course very easy. We hit the steep section in what seemed like no time. Then we slowed down... Renavigating, I began looking for my land marks. The stairs, the obnoxious blowdown and the big rock at the water crossing. The rest of the hike in-between was auto pilot for me as I looked at my surroundings and smiled. I had it in my mind to swim in the big pool I found once we were closer to the shelter (thank goodness for quick dry compression shorts and a sports bra!). It would be perfect to end the day after working so hard. Before we hit the water crossing, we ran into the Thru hikers form this morning. They are southbound to Georgia and I wished them all the best. Had they not zeroed yesterday, they might have gained my gummy bears. Their packs were well stocked which was also slowing them down. It's always tough to resupply and do these steep trails. I shared with them my opinion of the Carter Moriah range... :P

Once we got back to the shelter, we took a break and sat for a bit. I was running low on water (it was another 3 liter day) but I knew that the car was not that far away either. Isis was getting tired too. She was way past her zen look and more into her, I'm over this look. Extra AC once we got back to the car. We were passed by 2 large groups. One on the upper trail and one that was probably heading to the shelter. It was going to be a busy night on the Carter Moriah range. Isis and I were happy to be down and feeling very satisfied with our day. I changed at the car and located the start of the next section of AT that I needed across the street. We headed for coffee and home. 

Today, I realized that the shift in goals that occurred for me was probably the best thing that could happen to me. The potential for me to stretch myself and explore this great trail is so much more exciting to me and leaving the crowds behind has a great appeal (some those busier trail heads are an embarrassment with people parked for miles on the highway). Yet it seems, I still check to see if I have a peak in a certain month and I still try and plan around that... Old habits die hard I guess but I am happy with what is in the forefront while the GRID takes a backseat. It's so much more about the effort for me now and the greater effort for me is in the AT. I never got anything out of life if I half assed it so, why stop now... I'm through focusing on what I'm not (I have plenty of others doing that for me) that I'd rather focus on what I am.... I'm strong enough, I'm passionate enough, I'm brave enough to keep hiking. I am enough... I have one more hike before I leave for the LT (zero the weekend before to get my house in order). Today really showed me that my legs are ready and I am mentally ready. The pack will be heavy, it will be hard, and it will rain too. I already know this... So let's use it all to my strength rather than my weakness. I know what to expect so, that at least will be a help. Perhaps a shake down to the Maine border next weekend (16ish miles out and back) or Webster Jackson from 302... We'll see what the week holds. 

Popular posts from this blog

Mount Willard

All I wanted to do this week was climb to the top of a mountain. Any mountain at this point as I have been dealing with something that keeps me down. I had been thinking of Mount Willard... 2,865Ft and a 1.6mile trail. Small compared to what I usually hike. But small enough I might be able to summit.

It's a Saturday and I left my house a little after 8am. So much later than I usually leave to hike. But this is not a long hike at all so, after a cup of coffee and making myself one for the road, I loaded the car and headed for The Whites. I knew it would be crowded today since it is Saturday and as I thought, I'm parking on 302... Both the Depot, and the Highland Center are packed. It's .1 to the junction after the cross of the tracks and then we head up the Mt. Willard trail. So far, the trail itself is uncrowded but I assumed that everyone was already up there. Isis on the other hand was busy smelling markers for every dog that has hiked before her. 

The trail is super pa…

Franconia Falls

This morning, I had my sights set on Mt. Waumbek. I figured it would be a good one as I continue to get my legs under me from being sick last month and I had not visited it in a long time. I parked at the winter lot since the residents on the road leading to the trail head love to tow cars that park on the side of the road (believe me, do not tempt fate). Secure my snowshoes to my pack and got Isis all ready. In-spite of colder than cold temps, I really wanted to summit. As I walked up the road, I felt the tightness in my ankle and hoped that it would go away and loosen up and maybe I'd stop sucking wind too. I kept going up the trail and got to the well for a reluctant Pup picture. The trail itself is good and packed. I did not wear microspikes and had no need for snowshoes. I was hopeful that I might use them later in the day. Waumbek starts out with not a great deal of elevation gain but today, it was just enough to make me question... Things in my joints have not been quite r…

Mount Waumbek

It's Mount Waumbek, in Jefferson NH. 4006ft and only 7.2miles round trip. Why is today such a fight? I started out from the gas station in town since I wasn't sure if the hiker lot was plowed out from the latest blizzard. Made my way to the trail head up Mt. Starr King Road. There is a large snow pile from the plow right at the start to the trail head. Once at the trail head parking lot, I put on my snowshoes. I was thankful to not have the weight on my pack anymore. Switched Isis to her longer lead so she can run a bit. We started off on a decently packed trail. Looked like someone had dragged a polk behind them to break it out, it was so nice. Climbed past the well and continued with the steady incline, I seemed to slow down. I also felt tired but, I pushed on. I wanted this summit today.

The sun was bright and warm which was helping move the day along. The Mt. Starr King trail remained in great shape through this section too. I was dragging on the inclines but continued to…