The summit of Middle Carter was nothing to write home about, but the various lookouts before and after the summit make up for it. We stopped for lunch on one of these lookouts not far to the south of the summit. The cool morning had warmed up nicely, and the cool, stiff breeze of the early morning had dissipated. It was still very early, and we were making good time. Perhaps we'd be able to take on Hight and Carter Dome.....
After our lunch break, we continued south towards the wooded hump of South Carter Mountain. The trail continued with its generally good character - no mud and often smooth, and no blowdown.
Just before we got to the summit of South Carter, we met two fresh and clean looking 'day hikers' - at least we thought they were day hikers, initially. We struck up a little chat with them, learned where they had stayed the night before, and where they were headed for the day. I then noticed an "AT" tattoo on one of the hiker's calfs. "Is that a tattoo", I asked?
"No", she replied, "I just re-apply it every day with a marker".
"Are you thru-hikers?", I asked, a little incredulously. They look so clean, and their packs were small. The other hiker, a young man, was wearing a pretty nice looking white collared t-shirt, and they both were wearing sneakers. The shirt looked pressed, even.
"Yes", they reply, "We're thru-hikers".
Wow. Duly impressed by their demeanor and the casual and competent air with which they seem to be undertaking this "little" of adventure, we chat further. They go by the names of Figgy (for the girl) and Stitch (for the guy). Modern day nom-de-plumes for the blogosphere, perhaps?
We take a snap of them and then we talk about how we can give them the picture electronically. They immediately whip out a small strip of paper with their names and the website of the blog of their journey that they are maintaining. A sort of thru-hikers business card, it was. Here's a direct link to their blog: just click here
. I encourage you to have a look, as it is a very interesting account of an Applachian thru-hike. Also, we've noticed that it is updated in a very timely manner.
They were aiming to head north and finish the Carter Range today, and stop and meet an AT-acquaintance they parted ways with way back in Harper's Ferry, VA. Wishing them the best of luck , we part ways.
The descent to Zeta Pass (the col between South Carter and Hight) takes no time at all. It is not even 11 am yet, and neither of us is finding this hike particularly hard, so we decide to tack on an ascent of Hight and Carter Dome, and return via Carter Notch.
The ascent to Hight is about 700 feet in the space of about 700 metres (yards). Steep, but we're both feeling pretty strong, and we tackle that stretch in about 15 minutes flat. It was a good idea to include Hight on our hike, because it has a great open summit with 360-degree views. We could see Mount Washington and the belching cog railway, we could see all the way north up the Carter range to Mount Moriah, east to the undulating flatter land of Maine, and south to Carter Dome. The clear cool air contained very little haze, and visibility was excellent.