View Full Version : Overnight to Carter Notch Hut...

02-16-2010, 01:42 PM
Many of my trips to the White Mountains are made purely for the enjoyment of the mountains, and the hope of sharing that enjoyment on film. Leading the Outing Club at the high school that I teach at on trips adds an extra dimension to that sharing. Students get to experience the outdoors, gain an appreciation for natural systems, and become open to the beauty in the world around them, all while participating in healthy activities that they will hopefully continue for the rest of their lives. I consider it a true investment.

This weekend, I led a trip to the AMC?s Carter Notch Hut via Pinkham Notch for an overnight stay. The conditions were perfect for winter hiking: hard packed snow with minimal ice, seasonably mild temperatures in the teens and 20s, light wind and an occasional gently falling snow. The first day went just as smoothly as it could go!

Sunday morning I awoke in the notch at a bit before 6AM to capture the sunrise, and crawled out of my bed to find a fox on the front porch. Continued wandering found limited light, but much of the fine feelings of waking up in a place that inspires awe with its beauty. When I returned to the bunkhouses, the students were excited that the fox was still around. He was curious, inquisitive and though a bit skittish, was clearly tolerant of our presence. I managed to get a few nice sets of shots off before he moved on.



On the trip down, we took a break next to the Nineteen Mile Brook. With the absence of recent snowfall, all of the detail and beauty that is usually concealed in a frozen stream was on display. I concentrated on some areas where open water was surrounded by a frozen landscape, and was most pleased by this shot about a mile from the bottom.


This shot would have capped off a perfect trip, but unfortunately, there was a cruel Valentine?s surprise waiting for us at the bottom. Overnight, vandals had smashed my and my co-leaders cars in the lot, and made off with some of our electronics.

As teachers, we like to make every moment a teachable moment, but to our students who lost their cell phones, ipods and innocent sense of security that morning, there was little we could we could do to console them after their return to the oft cruel, civilized world. The cold drive home didn?t help either?


This morning, I have a new window, a new checking account, and have a new Wolverine portable storage devise on order. A minor setback, a major inconvenience, and a lesson learned?but certainly one experience that can't dampen my love of the Whites!

02-16-2010, 02:12 PM
Jim I'm sorry to hear about the end to what should have been a fantastic trip. In some respects with the exception of the break in it was, unfortunately every time you think back on this trip it will be hard to forget the ending. I just don't get why people feel the need to take from others but then again I'm not wired that way so I guess I wouldn't understand.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
02-16-2010, 06:46 PM
Beautiful pictures and report. It's a shame though that no matter where you may park your vehicle these days there's the ever present fear of what happened to you. Hope the vandals are apprehended.


02-16-2010, 08:25 PM
Jim, many things in nature are wild and wonderful (such as fox and the 19-Mile Brook so wonderfully captured in your photos). And then there are the things that are wild, but far from wonderful, like the vandals who broke into your car.

Thanks for posting!

Snow Miser
02-16-2010, 08:51 PM
So sorry to hear about your car. I hope the vandals are caught. Down here in PA that sort of thing happens too. I always fear coming back from a hike to a situation like you encountered. On the bright side, I love your shots of the fox.:)

Anna LeBlanc
02-16-2010, 09:24 PM
Jim thank you for bringing us those beautiful pictures.

On many occasions people that we know that don't hike always ask Gary and I if we're afaid to hike with all the wild animals out in the woods.Our answer is simple.We worry about the two-legged animals,not the four-legged animals!It's a shame the kids had to learn this lesson in this manner.



02-17-2010, 05:35 AM
A really wonderful trip until the jarring return to civilization. Sad that it had to end that way - particularly for the kids. It would be nicer if they could learn about trust instead. The photos are awesome! This fox seems to be slightly better fed than our friend on the summit. What a beautiful animal.

02-17-2010, 01:07 PM

Your photography is always stunning. Thank you for offering up some more delight!

Last fall, after the Auto Road closed to the public, I was minding the gate for paving operations. One of those early mornings I was greeted at the tollhouse by a very friendly fox, who trotted right up to my car door. So friendly, in fact, that he was right at my knee and trying to climb unto my tote bag after my lunch! Not the least skittish, more like a companion puppy; he wanted to come into the tollhouse and schmooze. He hung around the door, pressed his muzzle against a window, and scratched as if to be let in. I wasn't an easy mark for that. Uh Uh, no dice.

In six seasons of working at the tollhouse, often opening crack-of-dawn early in the AM for special events, I had NEVER seen the critter. Ever. Much like the fellow you met at Carter Notch, he seemed to be in top condition, much more curious/social than truly needy. Where did he come from? Question will probably never be answered.

I'm sorry to hear about the mess at 19MB Trailhead. All of last spring/summer/fall it was standard for me to see one or another of USFS/Coos SD/ Gorham PD/NHSP doing a walk-through check @ 0700 at that lot.

Incidents there have seemed to wane in the past couple of seasons, after some successful prosecution.

Teachable moments sometimes are not there at the exact moment of crisis, but come from what can be discerned AFTER the crisis. I'm hoping that you'll have some discussion points and teachable moments out of the worst of the trip.


02-18-2010, 04:26 PM
I had my window smashed, not at a trailhead, but in a parking lot at work! Not only did I lose my passport and $500 cash, but I had to replace the window on top of everything else. It's a scary feeling to see that someone has smashed in a window and helped themselves! I now have a jeep, since it's so easy to break into, who needs to smash a window?? I have never had a problem at any trailhead, but will not leave anything in my car. The phone gets shut off and comes up the mountain with me. I accidentally brought my wallet with me last weekend, and threw it in the bottom of my pack. I didn't dare leave it in the jeep. Too bad people have to ruin what is usually a great day!