Washington summit closeup
After a snack-n-scenery break on Hight's summit, we continue along the easy trail from Hight to Carter Dome. Carter Dome is the highpoint on our hike, reaching an elevation of just over 4,800 feet. However, even though it is the highest, it does not have an open summit (somewhat surprising for a 4,800+ foot summit at these latitudes). There is a good lookout a little ways down to the northeast, and the summit does have a clearing where there used to be a fire tower. Hight, though, has it hands down over Carter Dome when it comes niceness of summit.
At first, the trail heading south from Carter Dome is gentle and easy. Then, after a bit, it abruptly reaches the edge of Carter notch. Carter notch is a very deep col between Carter Dome and the next peak south, Wildcat Mountain. There are craggy cliffs on both sides of the notch, and way down in the notch itself are several little ponds and the complex of the AMC Carter Hut. The trail was gonna get steep now - it had to, to achieve a drop of almost 800 feet in just a few hundred horizontal yards!
The trail down into Carter notch was indeed precipitously steep - almost a scramble, even. There is, however, some good trailwork that has fashioned big steps in many places. This is a real knee-killer on the descent though, so beware!