Wildcat Mountain A + D, for better skin

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It had been a while since I was up in the Whites or so it seemed. The lingering ice from the winter kept me from heading up there. I had done some other hikes in the southern regions of NH to bide time for the northern ice age to melt away.

I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to try Isolation or Wildcats until that morning.  Decided on the Cats to get my 2 for 1 😉 .

Made my way up north the typical way.  This being a big holiday weekend, I avoided much of the traffic the prior day(better weather) but still noticed Appalachia and even Pinkham Notch VC had overflow parking into the streets from the prior day(many over nighters).  Found a spot in the PNVC lot and headed across the street to Lost Pond Trail.

I really liked this stretch of trail.  Very serene and beautiful.  You could see beaver activity and I would expect to see moose in this area, but not today.

Once beyond the pond, picked up Wildcat Ridge Trail.  Apparently the originators of this trail only knew one word, UP.  This trail quickly ascends at a steep grade but is well maintained.  I did manage to get off trail at one spot.  I followed a drainage instead, which had some old blazes, so I think it was part of a reroute.  I wasn’t alone as I was also following other slip marks and crushed leaves/twigs.  After a few minutes, pulled out GPS and confirmed I had drifted about 25 yards left.  I bushwhacked back to trail and continued UP.

While steep, the trail has decent footing, with well placed rock steps.  Much of it was steep enough to use hands to help along.  After a while of this, you reach rock wall where you navigate around via some well placed steps.  The drop to your left was a bit much for me(I’m a wimp with drops and exposure), but I suspect many thrill seekers like this stuff.  I gritted my teeth (and cussed in my head) and made my way up and around.  Once you accomplish that you are on to the next ‘chimney’ style chute.  It isn’t very tall, maybe 20+ feet, but again, a decent drop below made it seem more to me.  There were some trees below, so it felt a little more secure to me.  I scrambled up and over and looked back at my accomplishment.

After a couple more zigs across some ledge, the trail ducked back into the woods.  The cloud cover was quite low so no significant views.  That only means the beauty is in the journey on the trail.  I had a grouse introduce himself to me.  As I was scrambling up from a small col, he was just about 2-3 feet away from my head on the next step and flew away in quick fashion, startling me.  We chatted briefly and off I went.

After the majority of UP, I reached Wildcat E, the first summit.  It was an easy trip to the top of the ski area.  The tram at the top of Wildcat Ski area(near summit of Wildcat D) looks like some futuristic space ship.  It was more odd given the cloud/fog cover today.

There are many ups and downs along this ridge.  I was disappointed at the lack of obvious summit markings(signs/cairns).  I don’t recall seeing anything significantly marking each of the many summits along Wildcat Ridge Trail.  I stayed on the trail and likely missed the markings.

I reached the look out and 3 gentlemen were taking a break enjoying the view less view.  They asked me how far until we reached Wildcat Mountain(A).   I became instantly discouraged and clamored, “This isn’t Wildcat A??”.  After chatting and double checking maps and GPS, confirmed this was A with much relief.  A brief chuckle and off they went back toward Glen Ellis Falls.

I had a caffeinated Clif bar and started my descent toward the Carter Notch Hut.  This descent was decent ;-).  It is a bit steep, but the footing was stable and rocks placed nicely in step fashion.  I quickly made the ponds which were eerie which the cloud cover sitting on them.

The hut had a few occupants chatting away.  I breezed in and stole some water and snacked outside.  After my short break, I made way back around the ponds to 19 Mile Brook Trail.    I took this trail out from my overnight on the Carters last year.  I really like this trail as an out from the notch.  However I can only imagine it being a never ending slog coming up to the hut from Rt 16.

The sun peeked out as I was descending which made for an even better trip out.  Once I reached 16, I swapped socks and planned to hoof it back 3+ miles to PNVC.  I got about a quarter mile 19 Mile trailhead and was quickly offered a ride from a kind couple heading there too.  On the ride back, we were held up in traffic on 16 because the line to drive up Mt Washington Auto Road was about 40-50 cars deep out onto Rt 16.

This turned out to be a really nice hike(haven’t had a bad one yet).

A misty start to Lost Pond from PNVC, just across the road.
A misty start to Lost Pond from PNVC, just across the road.
Beautiful area around the Lost Pond trail, highly recommend this route.
Beautiful area around the Lost Pond trail, highly recommend this route.
The Lost Pond trail head
The Lost Pond trail head
Weathered bog boards help to cross the marsh to the bridge over the flowing pond.
Weathered bog boards help to cross the marsh to the bridge over the flowing pond.
Neat construction of this bridge
Neat construction of this bridge
Continuing on the AT along Lost Pond
Continuing on the AT along Lost Pond
The flow thins out as it approaches the pond
The flow thins out as it approaches the pond
This tree needed to survive and found a way to grow over and around this boulder
This tree needed to survive and found a way to grow over and around this boulder
The Lost Pond is no longer lost.  I've found it.  It was very quiet though just off RT16
The Lost Pond is no longer lost. I’ve found it. It was very quiet though just off RT16
Can see the cloud mist skimming the surface and a beaver home across the way
Can see the cloud mist skimming the surface and a beaver home across the way
On a nice day, I bet one could spend hours laying on the these rocks
On a nice day, I bet one could spend hours laying on the these rocks
On to Wildcat Ridge Trail, so far this has been a nice stroll in the woods along the pond
On to Wildcat Ridge Trail, so far this has been a nice stroll in the woods along the pond
Ok, turn the corner and up we go
Ok, turn the corner and up we go
Yes, this is the trail, up around the ledge
Yes, this is the trail, up around the ledge
Looking back to see what I accomplished and how quickly I poke out for the view.  See it? The view?  No?  Get used to it, the whole day was like this.  Still better than sitting in my cube
Looking back to see what I accomplished and how quickly I poke out for the view. See it? The view? No? Get used to it, the whole day was like this. Still better than sitting in my cube
A chimney to overcome.  It really is that steep, but wedged rocks allow for safe hand holds and footing.  Just getting to the first one was mildly tricky.
A chimney to overcome. It really is that steep, but wedged rocks allow for safe hand holds and footing. Just getting to the first one was mildly tricky.
The chimney was around that corner and down..nope, not going back for a shot
The chimney was around that corner and down..nope, not going back for a shot
Couple more steps and out to the views again.  RT16 you can see down below.  I think that is near Glen Ellis lot
Couple more steps and out to the views again. RT16 you can see down below. I think that is near Glen Ellis lot
The clouds were quite thick, very limited views, but it wasn't really raining.
The clouds were quite thick, very limited views, but it wasn’t really raining.
This was some cool moss.  The photo lacks in the deep greens.
This was some cool moss. The photo lacks in the deep greens.
Another vantage point to look out across to the presidential range.  Not today
Another vantage point to look out across to the presidential range. Not today
Thankful for the steps up the slick ledge
Thankful for the steps up the slick ledge
A big boulder wedged above the crevice.  I should peeked inside, but it was cool and damp.  Always next time.
A big boulder wedged above the crevice. I should peeked inside, but it was cool and damp. Always next time.
More steps, a bit steeper and a touch of exposure.
More steps, a bit steeper and a touch of exposure.
The trees definitely thinner as I gain elevation.  The ledge is dry, even with the low cloud cover.
The trees definitely thinner as I gain elevation. The ledge is dry, even with the low cloud cover.
A rugged section of older blow downs just off trail
A rugged section of older blow downs just off trail
Rising out of a small col.  I think this is where the grouse startled me
Rising out of a small col. I think this is where the grouse startled me
Yup, there it is after scampering away into the tree.  Not sure who startled more
Yup, there it is after scampering away into the tree. Not sure who startled more
Approaching the summit of Wildcat D
Approaching the summit of Wildcat D
Buildings up on top of the ski mountain.  The spaceship(ski lift) on the left.
Buildings up on top of the ski mountain. The spaceship(ski lift) on the left.
The sign is here, but there is a higher spot behind the building
The sign is here, but there is a higher spot behind the building
Such an odd design to me for a ski lift.
Such an odd design to me for a ski lift.
Bouncing up behind the shack
Bouncing up behind the shack
My look out from the lookout tower.  Rather blah, but still good to be in the mountains
My look out from the lookout tower. Rather blah, but still good to be in the mountains
Moving along the ridge to the next letter in the Wildcat alphabet
Moving along the ridge to the next letter in the Wildcat alphabet
More crazy moss in the shady nooks along the ridge
More crazy moss in the shady nooks along the ridge
This was a nice stretch where the moisture caught up and rotted some trees
This was a nice stretch where the moisture caught up and rotted some trees
Cool, time for the amazing views
Cool, time for the amazing views
Um?
Um?
After I made the descent down the sometimes steep trail into the notch, I arrived at a the ponds, but not before a couple trail signs ;-)
After I made the descent down the sometimes steep trail into the notch, I arrived at a the ponds, but not before a couple trail signs 😉
19 Mile, that will be the way out.
19 Mile, that will be the way out.
Carter Notch Hut is a small main hut with some out building for bunks. There were a few folks inside chatting away.  I popped in for some water and sat outside for a lunch/snack break.
Carter Notch Hut is a small main hut with some out building for bunks.
There were a few folks inside chatting away. I popped in for some water and sat outside for a lunch/snack break.
Last time I was here, this sign was well worn.  If I recall, it had a giant dragon fly on it too.  This one is far too clean/new.
Last time I was here, this sign was well worn. If I recall, it had a giant dragon fly on it too. This one is far too clean/new.
View across the pond, not much today.
View across the pond, not much today.
Pretty flowers along 19 Mile Brook trail
Pretty flowers along 19 Mile Brook trail
One of a few water crossings on 19 Mile.  Most of them have some form of bridge
One of a few water crossings on 19 Mile. Most of them have some form of bridge
Sat on a rock near the water for another snack
Sat on a rock near the water for another snack
Painted Trillium in bloom
Painted Trillium in bloom
Another water crossing.  The water was moving quite well
Another water crossing. The water was moving quite well
At the dam, the water pools up and rushes over
At the dam, the water pools up and rushes over
Mountain run off pooled up at the dam.  Might make for a nice swim spot on a hot day
Mountain run off pooled up at the dam. Might make for a nice swim spot on a hot day
Rushes over and continues down 19 Mile Brook
Rushes over and continues down 19 Mile Brook
A very hardy bridge recently built.  Certainly no shortage of funds and wood products for this one.
A very hardy bridge recently built. Certainly no shortage of funds and wood products for this one.
Steps on one side of the new bridge.
Steps on one side of the new bridge.
A look down stream
A look down stream
I jogged a small portion toward the end where the terrain was flat.
I jogged a small portion toward the end where the terrain was flat.
I made it through another hike.  Of course the sun was shining now that I was done, Happens too often. I laced up my boots and started to jog toward my car, about a 4 mile span.  I made it about .25mi when a couple offered me a ride back to PNVC
I made it through another hike. Of course the sun was shining now that I was done, Happens too often.
I laced up my boots and started to jog toward my car, about a 4 mile span. I made it about .25mi when a couple offered me a ride back to PNVC

37&38 of 48

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