So You Want to Redline . . . Mount Moriah via the Wild River Widlerness

Date of Hike: 8/17/15

Wild River Trail: 2.7 Miles  /  Highwater Trail: 2.6 miles  /  Moriah Brook Trail:  5.8 miles  /  Carter-Moriah Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Kenduskeag Trail: 4.1 miles  /  Shelburne Trail: 3.0 miles  /  Highwater Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Wild River Trail: 0.4 miles
Total Miles: 21.4 (4,545 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- Whitney is working on her redlining (hiking every trail in the A.M.C White Mountain Guide) so we are always checking the maps and looking for new trails for her to hike.  While I am not redlining I find it fun to join along and revisit trails I've already been on and check out trails that are new to me.  On Sunday we did a hike where I had not been on twenty of the almost twenty-two mile hike.  The real interesting thing about redlining is sometimes you end up on trails that are lightly used, very overgrown, and in rough shape, making for quite the adventure.
- Joining us for the first part of the hike was our friend Denise who we picked up at the Stony Brook Trailhead.  From there we drove over to the Wild River trailhead and started our hike along the Wild River Trail.
- The first two and a half miles of the hike was an easy flat stroll along an old logging railroad grade.  At times the trail skirted the Wild River which was heavily damaged during the 2011 tropical storm, It's quite the site as the river looks like it had been ripped to shreds and trees still clog up some areas along the washed out riverbanks.  We crossed the river just past the old Spider Bridge, which was washed out from a different storm back in 2005, and hooked onto the Highwater Trail.
- Unlike the Wild River Trail, the Highwater Trail is a narrow path, sometimes overgrown, and has numerous small up and downs.  It does not run along the river and has no viewpoints and while it is more remote I didn't really enjoy this stretch of the trail as we hiked it back to the Moriah Brook Trail junction.
- At the junction we headed back to the Wild River Trail and turned around, it was a half a mile down and back up, when your redlining you do not want to leave tenths of a mile here and there, you might as well grab them while you can.  I probably would have stayed at the trail junction while Denise and Whitney hiked back down and up but there's a really cool suspension bridge I wanted to check out.
- Once back to the junction we made the gradual climb up to the Carter-Moriah Trail south of Mount Moriah's summit.  This stretch of the trail is five miles long and is absolutely beautiful as it passes by cascades, gorges, and pools of water.  At the Moriah Gorge we all took a break and went for a swim in a nice pool of water just below where the trail crosses the river.  There are plenty of other swimming holes of all sizes as the trail easily climbs up the Wild River Valley that looked tempting but we had a lot of miles left to hike so we only made the one swim break at Moriah Gorge, but I have a feeling we'll be back some day to take a swim in these other pools of water!
- When we reached the Carter-Moriah Trail, Denise descended back to her car at Stony Brook and Whitney and I continued on up to Moriah in the hot and humid day.  There was barely any wind but luckily the clouds started to come in and was a welcome reprieve from the barrage of the blazing sun.
- From Moriah's summit we made quick work of the Kenduskeag Trail around Middle Moriah and past the Rattle River Trail junction.  I was excited for the next part of the hike over Shelburne Moriah's summit because I had heard so many amazing things about this stretch of trail and the great views.  Unfortunately what no one mentioned about the hike over and down the Kenduskeag Trail was how overgrown, scratchy, and muddy the trail was in spots.  We were both really surprised that the trail was kind of in crappy shape for about half of it.  Luckily the views from the summit where spectacular even if there was a heavy haze limiting the views.
- Once past the summit we had a few minor up and downs to go over until making our way to the Shlburne Trail junction.  The trail was still scratchy in spots and Whitney bashed her knee on a branch on the last stretch of overgrown trail heading up the last PUD.  The day before she bashed her other knee on a rock, ouch!  After gathering herself we continued on, she's a trooper and can tough anything out, the joy of redlining, overgrown trails with booby traps!
- When we hooked onto the Shelburne Trail I really didn't know what to expect, if the trail was going to be overgrown and hard to follow or if it was going to be ok.  It ended up being really easy to follow as it looks like there has been some trimming back with blowdown removal over the past few years.  I was really happy the trail was in good shape and we made great time covering the three miles to the Highwater Trail which we jumped back on and hiked a mile and a half back to the suspension bridge.  Luckily this section of the Highwater Trail was much more enjoyable as it hugged the river bank for most of it's length and we even got to see the river and more of the destruction from the 2011 storm.
- Once back across the bridge we made our way back to the Jeep and headed into Gorham to stuff our faces at Mr. Pizza!  It was another big mile hike, back to back twenty mile days in the heat and humidity, we both had plenty of scratches on our legs from the miles upon miles of hiking overgrown trails over the previous two days and it was worth every scratch and fall!

Hiking along the railroad grade on the Wild River Trail.

 The Wild River is very wide but was running very low on this day as we passed by the site of where the Spider Bridge used to be

 The Highwater Trail travels up and down high above the Wild River

 Wild River suspension bridge, it's old and moves quite a bit while walking on it.  There is a two person (one fat person) at a time limit!

 Wild River suspension bridge

 The Wild River

 Hiking up the lovely Moriah Brook Trail

 Moriah Gorge, this is where we took a dip

Denise and I relaxing at Moriah Gorge and Whitney inching her way in!

 Passing by a swampy section along the Moriah Brook Trail

 Crossing a ledge over the Moriah Brook and then by a small waterfall

 I was really fascinated by the size of the boulders in the Moriah Brook, they were pretty impressive in spots

 Before making our final push up to the ridge we pass by a muddy overgrown flat section

 Whitney makes her way up to the summit of Mount Moriah 

 Heading  along the Kenduskeag Trail

 As we make our way to Shelburne Moriah the trail becomes narrower and narrower

 Shelburne Moriah, even though it was significantly overgrown in spots it is a very pretty hike through a nice sub alpine meadow

 Looking back to Middle Moriah and Mount Moriah (top), and the town of Gorham (bottom)

 Descending from Shelburne Moriah with the Mahooscuc Range in view

 The Kenduskeag Trail was a mix of decent footing to overgrown and muddy

 Heading down the Shelburne Trail, a nice hike back down into the Wild River Valley

 The Highwater Trail along the Wild River

 Signs spotted along the way

Route for the day, click here for details

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