Lost and Found in the Carters, 4.29.13

No, it wasn’t me that got lost.  It was one of my snowshoes.  I knew the day would finally come that I’d lose some piece of gear while hiking, and Monday was the day.  I lost a snowshoe somewhere between Middle and South Carter on the Carter-Moriah Trail.  What I didn’t know was how it would be found.

The day started out well enough, I was able to get to the 19 Mile trailhead before 9:30a, was ready to go and heading toward Camp Dodge to cut through and pick up the Imp Trail.  I had not done the loop this way before, and since I’ll be hiking it this way next winter, it was a good idea to check it out.  There was no snow on the ground, but I had microspikes and snowshoes just in case I needed them due to snow conditions.  I hike upward, pretty happily for a couple of hours and then checked the mileage on my tracking app.  Three miles in and no ridge;  after looking at the map, I realized I had about another mile or so to go.

Three hours into the hike, I had finally taken the right turn onto the Carter-Moriah Trail and was heading toward Middle Carter.  Meanwhile, the snow/ice had appeared around 2500 feet, although not unexpected, so the microspikes went on and going was a bit better, if still slippery to the ridge.  The monorail was already forming, so staying in the packed area was essential for not postholing to the thigh or deeper.  Once on the ridge, I knew the worst was behind me and I was thrilled to have some great views over to the Presidentials, out to Maine and ahead to not only Middle Carter but also to Mt. Hight and Carter Dome.  I moved along and came to Middle Carter, with it’s fading Sharpie notation on a dead tree.

View of the Presidentials from ledges near Middle Carter.

View of the Presidentials from ledges near Middle Carter, a nice reward for the four mile hike up to the ridge.

Middle Carter and the Sharpie tree.

Middle Carter and the Sharpie tree.

Moving along, I headed down the ridge toward South Carter.   It was somewhere in here that I unknowingly lost a snowshoe.  I’m not sure how or why it jumped ship, but it did.   With one more small climb before me, up the hill I went and I was at South Carter.  I took off my pack to get a snack and there was only one snowshoe.  Oh, that’s not good!  I had two when I started and two when I last took off my pack before Middle Carter.  I left the pack and went back down the trail a couple of tenths looking for it, but after a glancing at the time and calculating the time it would take to hike out and get home, I knew I’d have to come back another day to search for the snowshoe.  Thus, my remaining snowshoe made the lonely ride down to Zeta Pass, and down the Carter Dome and 19 Mile Brook Trails.  The monorail became more and more evident as I dropped altitude down the Carter Dome Trail.  Eventually, the snow pack gave way to dirt trail on the 19 Mile Brook Trail and it was much easier walking back to the car.

Heading toward South Carter with a mix of snow and ledge.

Heading toward South Carter with a mix of snow and ledge.

Snow pack on the ridge between Middle and South Carter is still deep.

Snow pack on the ridge between Middle and South Carter is still deep.

At South Carter at the tree with the tiny sign.

At South Carter at the tree with the tiny sign.

Sadly, I called my husband with the news of the equipment loss.  He said maybe I could upgrade.  It isn’t that easy when a piece of equipment has been with you through quite a few adventures and they were a Christmas present from your spouse no less.  Of course, he joked he didn’t know what sort of monster he was creating by giving me gear for Christmas.  In the end, I still had a good day and had to look at the blessings:  I had spectacular views on the ridge, I had the health and ability to hike, and I didn’t break a leg or ankle in the spring snow conditions.

Tuesday, I posted a trail report on NewEnglandTrailConditions.com with the note that I had lost a snowshoe.   Would you believe that Wednesday morning I got an email from a gentleman saying he had found the snowshoe and that it was at his house, just south of Concord, NH?!?   My plan was to do the hike again either Saturday or Monday looking for the snowshoe and if I was really lucky find the snowshoe at the 19 Mile Brook kiosk.  After a few emails, I was fortunate to meet this kind hiker to pick up the snowshoe Wednesday afternoon, plus get to chat with him about hiking.  He’s had many years of adventures and I only hope that I can eventually get to that level of knowledge and skill.

Considering that recent events near our neck of the woods have displayed some of the less than savory characters in our society, I am just so appreciative and thankful that there are good, honest people out there willing to help out others.  That hiker didn’t have to pick up the snowshoe and carry it 5 miles to the trail head, plus try to find its owner and spend the time to meet me return it.  It never ceases to amaze me of the kindness and large hearts of the people who make up the trail community!


2 thoughts on “Lost and Found in the Carters, 4.29.13

  1. A very heartwarming story, and told in a very delightful manner. You truly have a gift for writing.

    As you indicate, the vast majority of the hiking community is indeed comprised of kind and good people. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I think that most people everywhere, in all walks of life, are kind and good. But as we all know, there are some notable exceptions.

    Thanks for sharing this experience.


  2. I appreciate your kind comments as always, John! I had thought about telling the story several ways, but I thought it would be best to highlight the kindness of others as we so often are presented with only the negative. It should inspire us all to be better, on the trail and off.

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