Carter Notch Hut, a 100 year tradition!

View looking northeast towards Carter Dome from one of the bunkhouses at Carter Notch Hut

View from the ramparts, a great boulder field, at Carter Notch
Last Friday, us Front Desk Girls, Kate and I, decided to get a little change of scenery. We got off work here in Pinkham Notch around 10pm and decided to hike up to Carter, especially since it celebrated its 100th year being open! We hiked up 19 Mile Brook trail, although the name of the trail can be a bit deceiving, the hike up to the hut is in fact not 19 miles-- it is only 3.8 miles and 1801 feet of climbing. However, it does hold true to its name in that it runs alongside the 19 Mile Brook for most of the hike. I loved hiking in the cool of the night listening to the sound of the water sometimes cascading, sometimes trickling down the mountainside. The trail was always easy to navigate even in the dark with head lamps. There were areas where the trail was somewhat wet but with our trusty hiking boots, we made it by just fine. The wet ground attracted some toads and frogs too. We must have seen at least ten on our way up and heard them all night singing in the lakes. We made it up to our backcountry camping site by 12:30am and camped in a clearing under a cloudless, starry sky with no rain fly. We woke early before the sun and hiked to the lakes that surround the hut to watch the sky brighten and feel the world around us come alive.

Wildcat Valley Trail, a southern trail from Carter
We watched the yellow water lilies open up for the day and listened to the frogs and birds. We then hiked over to Carter Hut to surprise the crew and some friends who were staying there. Abagael was up making breakfast for the guests at sunrise, and she was very welcoming, even giving us the honor of waking the crew up at 6:15am! Despite our morning ruckus, the crew fed us some delicious, fresh cornbread and hot coffee, which we enjoyed outside in the early morning air. After saying goodbye and thank you, we went back to our tent site and packed up. The hike down was even faster and smoother than the night before. It was fun seeing the trail at night as well as during the day. Kate and I found that we focused on different things. The night before, our worlds seemed to only exist within the reaches of our headlamps. The forest around us was dark and dormant, the trail bright, wet rock. In contrast, during the day I barely looked at the trail. My eyes were raised to the green world around me and I found myself stumbling at times, not focused on the rugged White Mountain trail. Kate and I returned to Pinkham happy to have had a little adventure right in our back yard. What adventures will you find in your backyard?

If you are staying here at the Joe Dodge Lodge we have a great Demo Center that you can test out boots on your hike from LOWA, hiking poles from Leki and backpacks from Deuter and Gregory for free! The Demo center is located near the check-in desk at the Joe Dodge Lodge and you can get gear during the normal operating times of 6:30am-10pm 7 days a week!

For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk. We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. Be sure to check weather conditions before you come and call us here with any questions! We'll see you up here! 

Happy Hiking!
Backcountry Information Specialist
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center

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