Post Grid Hikes & Runs

Almost a month has passed since my Grid & NH 4K #1000 finish on July 21st (click here for trip report).  After taking a week off I headed back up to some of the mountains close to home; revisiting some of my favorite trails in the Great Gulf Wilderness, running up and down Mount Moriah and Adams, beating the crowds up Mount Washington on a beautiful summer morning, heading to lesser traveled trails in the Wild River Wilderness with Matt, Ian & Marlie, and running in MMD 50K over the Carters and Wildcat Range.

Saturday July 30th - Sam Adams (14.5 miles / 4,633 feet elevation gained)

 - I spent the day hiking out of and back into the Great Gulf Wilderness via the Great Gulf, Six Husbands, Edmands Cutoff, Randolph Path, Isreal Ridge, bushwhack, Gulfside and Madison Gulf trails.  I did not summit any official 4,000 foot summits, but I did head off trail and summit Sam Adams.  It was a beautiful day above treeline and I even ran into my friend Marta who was hiking with John and Steve.
-  As for the trails, there are two on this route worth mentioning.  First, the Six Husbands Trail is one of the more exhilarating trails in the White Mountains, it's excessively steep as it leaves the mouth of Jefferson Ravine and heads strait up over the 'knee' of Mount Jefferson.  There are some well placed ladders and some fun scrambles as it breaches treeline.  The other wild trail on this route is the Madison Gulf Trail, the upper section of this trail is steep, eroded, and wet as it climbs up the enclosed headwall over a gnarly steep scramble followed by a steep chimney scramble.  below the headwall are a few water crossings and rough footing.  I would not recommend new hikers venturing out onto these trails but do recommend it for veteran hikers looking for some excitement!

 Heading up one of the ladders on the Six Husbands Trail

 Peering down into Jefferson Ravine from the Edmands Cutoff

 Storm Lake, just off Trail near the Gulfside / Israel Path trail junction.

Mount Adams as seen from Sam Adams

Tuesday, August 2 - Mount Moriah / Thursday, August 4th - Mount Adams & Wildcat D Peak (24 miles, 10,000 feet elevation gained)

 - On Tuesday I headed across the street to continue working on my RUN NH48 project and beat feet up Mount Moriah.  I felt really good on both the ascent and descent and came in just under two hours.  On Thursday morning I ran the Airline up and down keeping a very solid uphill pace and fast descent and was very satisfied with my run.  For more on RUN NH48 click here.  On Thursday after work I headed down the street for a recovery hike up the ski slopes hoping to run into a mom and baby moose that have been patrolling the ski trails on Wildcat D Peak.  Unfortunately I did not see them but was able to get in a really nice and relaxing recovery hike

The Carter Range as seen from Mount Moriah

Mount Adams summit sits high above Mount Madison to the north

Trail running down Durand Ridge along the Airline

Mount Madison and Adams as seen from the Polecat Ski Trail

Mount Washington from Wildcat D's observation deck

Flowers spotted along the ski trails :) 

Friday, August 5th - Mount Washington (9.8 miles, 4,599 feet elevation gained)

- On Friday morning I drove down the road to Pinkham Notch and started hiking at 6:30AM up Mount Washington.  My route was up Lion Head and down Tuckerman Ravine trails.  Usually I do this in the opposite direction but I had not ascended Lion Head in years, and boy did I forget that it's a steep knee hammering ascent up to the Lion's head, but the views once above treeline are well worth the slog.  On the way up I saw two hikers a half mile in then absolutely no one all the way up until the summit cone where there were only a handful of people milling around.  On the way down I passed two hundred hikers coming up the expressway (Tuckerman Ravine Trail).  Needless to say I was very happy for the early start to avoid the crowds as I had a nice relaxing morning on top of the rock pile.

 Heading up to the Lion's Head and then making my way towards the summit cone of Mount Washington

From Lion's Head there is a great view of the bowl and headwall of Tuckerman Ravine.  If you look closely you can see the trail, on the right, skirting above the headwall

Summit of Mount Washington

Heading down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Tuckerman Junction (bottom), and dropping down over the lip of the ravine (top)

Tuckerman Falls and Hermit Lakes ranger station

Sunday, August 7th - Mount Moriah (21.7 miles, 4,744 feet elevation gained)

- On Sunday I met up with Matt, Ian and his dog Marlie, for a hike up Mount Moriah the quiet way, from the Wild River Valley.  We spotted a car at the Shelburne trailhead and drove over to the beginning of the Highwater Trail where we would have a relatively flat hike to the Moriah Brook Trail before gradually ascending to the Carter-Moriah junction just over a mile below the summit.  The trails we hiked on this day through the Wild River Wilderness were laid out over old railroad grades from the Wild River Railroad which was in used 1891-1917.  Along the hike deep into the valley we saw a few old remnants of rebar at a few water crossings but did not find any old artifacts, I don't know if any have been left behind but if there are they are very well hidden and minimal.
- Other than the hike along the Carter-Moriah Trail we only saw a couple of other hikers and campers.  The highlight of the hike was Shelburne Moriah Mountain located a few miles north of Mount Moriah.  The summit is under 4,000 feet but travels through a beautiful sub-alpine field with great views, and, unlike last year the trail leading up to the summit has been trimmed back and no longer grown in!
- From the summit of Shelburne we enjoyed our descent to the Shelburne / Howe col while enjoying trailside blueberries.  Once at the col we hooked onto the Shelburne Trail and descended down to Route 2 just west of the border of Maine.  It was a great big mile day out with Matt, Ian & Marlie as I really enjoyed hiking with them as they are walking encyclopedias when it comes to mountains and trails in the Whites!

 Rain has been close to non-existent this summer so as of early August the Wild River is not so wild

 The Moriah Brook Trail suspension bridge has been closed for almost a year because of continuing erosion beneath the bank on the east bank of the Wild River

 Ian and Marlie cross the top of Moriah Brook Gorge

Apparently the movie Star Wars got the idea for the Dagobah planet, Yoda's place of exile, after this swamp bog in the middle of nowhere in the Wild river Wilderness :) 

Ian and Matt make there way through an overgrown spot near an old camp on the Moriah Brook Trail

 The gang makes quick work of the scramble just below Mount Moriah's summit

Great section of hiking over a board walk on the way to Shelnurne Moriah Mountain

Looking to the north toward the Mahoosuc Range

Picking blueberries!

The last mile plus is over an old logging swath

Saturday, August 13th - 50K Fun Run (30.5 miles, 9,446 feet elevation gained)

-  Saturday I was lucky enough to run in my 4th MMD 50K fun run on the trails with other friendly trail running enthusiasts.  The weather was subpar, unsettled, and disgustingly humid so the course was changed from the northern Presidential Range to the other side of the notch along the Carter-Wildcat Range.
- I started out really strong and even caught up to the leaders, Ryan and Ian who were going at an easy pace for them, while rapidly descending the Rainbow Trail into the Wild River Valley & Wildcat River Valley.  Unfortunately while running over a flat section of the Wild River Trail I tripped and fell, initially I felt fine but within twenty minutes my knee had a ligament pain, one I was familiar with from a 2011 injury during a failed  Hut to Hut traverse.  It was very demoralizing as I was well on my way to having a great run and more than likely was going to be trading places with Nate and Kher (finishers 3 & 4) on the up and downs, reminiscent of last year when she, Andrew, and Timothy would catch me on the ups and I'd catch them on the downs.
- The good news is I was able to tough it out for the gradual hike back to Carter Notch Hut, grind it out over the steep ascent, puds, and steep descent along the Wildcat Ridge Trail, and keep up a decent hiking pace back to Barnes Field over the very gradual and good footing trails of the Direttissima, Old Jackson Road, Madison Gulf Trail, Great Gulf Trail and Link, and Dolly Copp Campground and finished in 9th place out of 26.
- The best part of of the run is the post run BBQ with all the runners and volunteers, it's a real fun and great experience to hear about what others have done running here and all over the United States.  There are some exceptional and well accomplished runners willing to share their knowledge about trail running.
- As for my knee I have a brace and will be able to hike with care and hopefully be back to running by late September and maybe test it out with something big in October.

 Route for the day!

Elevation of miles profile

Runners along NH16 on the way to the Imp Trail

Everything was saturated from rain showers

Runners slogging it up the steep section below Mount Hight

Descending through the beautiful Birch glades along the Rainbow Trail

On the Wild River Trail, close to where I fell and tweaked my knee...a flat section of dirt! 

 The West Branch Peabody River suspension bridge.  It was slippery and I slipped badly, my under area of my bicep got wrenched on the wire part when I fell leaving a raspberry burn swath...not my day!

Signs spotted along the way


  1. Hi Chris,

    Wow, sounds like a great week+!!! Your pictures are awesome as usual and congrats on finishing the grid a few weeks back. Are you keeping track of redlining and actively working on it?

    I hope your knee feels better soon and your back to running the trails quickly.


    1. Hi Karl, always good to hear from you! As far as redlining, I am not keeping track right now, I'll probably use the same method as I did with the Grid, where I'll fill out the spreadsheet in a year or two and if I'm around 70% I'll then go for it.

      The knee already feels much better and I'll test it out this weekend hiking, if I feel no discomfort or pain over the next two weeks I'll resume running around Sept. 1st :)