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21 February 2012

Trekking to Mt Carr in Recent Times and 125 Years Ago

You couldn't see far from Mt. Carr!  That was certainly a true statement on 19-February when my friend Marty and I trekked up the western slope of this mountain via the Carr Mountain Trail near Warren, NH. The weather forecast called for clear skies by early afternoon.  But as often happens in the mountains, weather predictions can be less than accurate.

Since we experienced very little in the way of views from the top of this 3,453 ft foot mountain, there isn't much to share in terms of photos.  Even in ideal weather conditions, Mt. Carr only offers "stand-up" views.  These are best experienced from some concrete steps that are part of the remains of an old fire tower that once stood on the summit.  And although you cannot sit and enjoy them, Steve Smith (the consummate "mountain wanderer") says that you can see the summits of 31 of the White Mountain's 4,000 footers from Mt. Carr.  

The panorama photo (shown below) was taken from a ledge near the fire tower.  On this day, it didn't much matter where you stood.  This photo is certainly not presented for its "artistic quality", but rather just to demonstrate the viewing conditions that we experienced.

The clearest view (relatively speaking) was of Mt. Moosilauke, as seen in the next photo.

During our ascent to Mt. Carr, we took a short detour to hike the 0.2 mile spur trail to Waternomee Falls.  As would be expected in February, the falls were frozen, but a pretty sight nonetheless (photo below).

Regarding conditions along the Mt Carr Trail, things were overall in good shape.  There were a few blowdowns, but all were easy to negotiate in one manner or another.  The  trail had a light layer of firm snow from trailhead to summit.  Microspikes were worn for the entire hike.

That concludes the report about the trek Marty and I undertook to Mt. Carr.  However, Steve Smith filed a much more complete report on his Blog (click HERE) for a trek to Mt. Carr that was done on a day in May 2011 when viewing conditions were much more favorable.

Also, I found it fascinating to read a Trip Report of a trek to Mt. Carr that was done 125 years ago in 1877.   This report was filed in June 1988 edition of Appalachia (Volume 5, page 151-155).  It's publically available on the Internet via GoogleBooks.  I've excerpted the portion of the report which I found to be most interesting.  (If you want to read the entire report, click HERE.)

To sum it up,  probably most readers would agree that hiking isn't solely about the views.  There are other significant components such as the camaraderie of hiking with a friend.  Plus (as was true with this trek), there can sometimes be interesting historical tidbits to be learned about your hiking destination. 

And lastly, there can be unexpected views just travelling to and/or from the trailhead.  As we were travelling along Limekiln Road, we happened to hit it just right for a sunset view of the Hogsback and Sugarloaf Mountain (photos below).

10 comments:

  1. Wow, those last two shots of the snow-less landscape are pretty shocking!

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    1. I know! Hasn't this been a weird winter!! I keep trying to find some positive aspects to it. Perhaps the trek the Marty and I made to Carr Mountain is one of the positive things about it. In a normal NH winter, most likely the trail to Carr would not have been broken out and it would have required a Herculean effort with just the two of us to break out the trail. Whereas, with this weird winter, we were easily able to make the trek by just wearing Microspikes.

      Thanks Owen for posting a comment!

      John

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  2. your headline really attracted me to this post. Your post is fantastic as usual as I now know of yet another sweet new hampshire hike I have never done. But the 125 year old trip report is really unique! It looks like something that we could find on an outdoor blog today!

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    1. Thanks Grant!
      Regarding that 125 year old trip report, I guess it goes to prove that there really is “nothing new under the sun”! :)

      John

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  3. I, too, was intrigued by the title and I enjoyed reading the 125 year-old report. Don't you just love the way they wrote back then? With phases like: "the mountains.... show up to excellent advantage", and "By a judicious use of..." Grant is correct that this account would make an interesting (and well-written) blog post today. Also I liked the fact that those 1880's guys climbed trees to see the view!
    Loved the frozen waterfall pic also. Sounds like you had a great time on this hike.
    Rita

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    1. Hi Rita,

      You picked up on one of the curious things that I noticed as well, i.e. the bit about climbing trees to get a view. As I understand it, there are some modern-day adventurers who still do this. However, I'm disinclined to "branch-out" and give this activity a try. I much prefer the reassuring feeling of terra firma beneath my feet! :)

      John

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  4. Another good one, John - sorry the views weren't up to par. Thanks for the link to my report, and for posting the interesting historical clip. Love those old Appalachia "trip reports"! Carr is a fascinating mountain, though its fan club is pretty small.

    Steve

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    1. Hi Steve,

      Many thanks for posting your comments! It was my honor to post a link to your Blog report about Mt Carr. I felt that your report was a fair and favorable depiction of what this mountain has to offer.

      I also love those old Appalachia “trip reports”, and am frequently amazed at how they oftentimes resemble our current-day reports.

      John

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  5. The older trip report makes for good reading today. Interesting that the trees were part of the view back then, too. I found the part about determining the true high point with the barometer fascinating, too. Makes sense, and certainly what we have today with fancy altimeters (which I know some are dependent on barometric pressure) and GPS is an extension of the same technology/application.

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    1. Hi Summerset,

      Yes, that bit about the use of a barometer was indeed fascinating. From what I understand, they got some pretty darn accurate data with their 19th century technology.

      Thanks for posting your comments. I see from your Blog (http://nh48.wordpress.com/) that you’ve been “out and about”. I haven’t had a chance to read your latest reports, but will be doing so soon.

      John

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