Wildcat Carter Moriah Traverse October 2020

An epic day in the White Mountains. 18 miles and 7,690 feet of elevation gain.

Our day started with Wildcat E and concluded with Mount Moriah. The peaks included:

Wildcats A, B, C, D, and E. Carter Dome, Hight, South Carter, Middle Carter, North Carter, Mount Moriah. 6 4,000 footers DONE.

The day started with a car spot and we left Pinkham Notch for Wildcat E about 8:30 a.m. We took Lost Pond Trail to Wildcat Ridge. The last time I hiked on this ridge was with my dad after a 2-day backpack in June of 1989. We had started our hike at Imp Trail and ended on Wildcat Ridge with a highway walk back to the car. I was glad that today, Ross decided to start with the Wildcats instead of end with them; and to have a car spot! 

The ridge is tough. So much climbing but I got in a zone and it was okay.

Vicky on the steeps – Wildcat Ridge

Miraculously we got through all the peaks. It was so steep and rugged. 

The highlight of this section was a rest after descending to Carter Notch. At Carter Lake we got out of the wind and soaked up the sun for a bit of a rest. The Wildcats were steep and slow. And while we didn’t have a time expectation we just knew it was going to be 18 miles and at this point we were only 4 or 5 miles in. It was going to be a long day. 

However, the weather was perfect. It never got too hot or too cold. The wind was whipping at many points along the trail but then we would get deep in the woods with no wind. 

Trail sign at Carter Lake

As we ascended Carter Dome I got into a hiking zone and we tried to make up some time.  We opted for Mount Hight and the view was the best of the day. We could see where we came from and where we had left to go. 

We hit all three Carters and were ready to be done with them so we kept moving. 

Coming down North Carter was a bitch. There I said it. I don’t want to do this trail ever again. Endless on-your-butt downhill. But we could see where we were going which included Imp and Moriah. 

We hit Mount Moriah’s southern ledges as the sun began to set and at the summit we took amazing pictures of the sun setting over the Presidentials. The Presidentials were looming all day with not a cloud in sight. 

Mount Moriah summit looking west.

We wore headlamps all the way down via Stony Brook and were thankful for the ease of the descent back to the car. It was very warm on the hike down. The wind was warm and we hiked through warm spots. It felt humid. So strange. 

We exited the trail at 9:30 p.m. to a clear sky with so many stars. After a long day like this I was thankful everyone stayed safe and healthy. We all got home, albeit very late. I got home to Concord at 11:00 pm and Vicky and Ross after midnight. 

The Wildcat Carter Moriah traverse seemed much harder than the Pemi Loop and Presidential Traverse. I feel like all the lessons learned from these longer hikes such as not carrying enough food or not having enough water were all corrected in my preparation for this day. All day long we went up and down, and repeated nearly a hundred times. Despite inconsistency in my training days the last few months I feel like I did well on this traverse. However, I don’t feel like I need to do it again anytime soon. It was an epic day on rocky terrain with wonderful hiking partners.


Following the Appalachian Trail
Remembering parts of this hike with my dad from 1989
Great hiking partners
Having enough food and water
The sunset on Moriah