The HOC cabin feels like home whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth. After a relaxed Saturday morning start, we made a pit stop at Pinkham Notch for coffee, non-sulfur water, and an attempt to visit Brinkley Brown ’21, who’s working there this summer. Couldn’t find Brinkley but ran into an elementary school classmate of Aidan’s (big mountains, small world).
You could say that Aidan had one of those mornings. His drone collided with an unhelpful tree, breaking off a small piece and rendering it flightless. Then, at the trailhead, he realized forgot his hiking boots…and got pulled over for going 18 mph over the speed limit on his way to retrieve them.
The rest of us hit Nineteen Mile Brook trail, which was as lovely as it sounds. Almost totally unrecognizable from the last time I was there, on a January day of freezing rain. If you have two cars, I’d really recommend doing the Wildcats via this traverse route.
A very sweaty Aidan caught up to us just over 3 miles into the trail, an impressive feat of trail-running. Reunited, we had a late morning snack at a lake not far from Carter Notch Hut. The forested slope of Wildcat A rose directly out of the other side of the lake, showing us exactly what we were about to climb.
We made good time up the slope (the big steep!) and were rewarded with awesome views of the Carter Range. The ridge trail is beautiful, shaded, a bit saucy at times but overall very easy going. Lunch on the platform of Wildcat D had us facing west towards the Prezis. A highlight was the straight-on view of Tuckerman’s Ravine, which you don’t often get to see.
After hearing so much negative hype, I was almost disappointed by just how wonderful the Wildcats were. The descent was tough on the knees but broken up by cool rocky outcroppings. Nice to cool off in the river by Route 16 at the end of the day.
Evening = a trip to North Conway for some, a trip to fish near Pinkham for others. Glad to be joined by Liz and Brinkley for Saturday night. Jack caught and cooked a rainbow trout, which was the real star of dinner. Followed it up with some inspired trail mix pancakes (GF, of course) for dessert. Hard to say who slept best…Henrietta probably put forth the best effort, while Aidan’s hammock setup offered a creative new approach.
We said goodbye to the cabin on Sunday morning and headed to the Tripyramids. As Cam, the recipient of 6 ices, pointed out, there was “a lot of ice on the trail for mid-June.” We would have gotten him with the pizza Pringles, too, if Jack hadn’t been so unhelpfully perceptive. A very satisfying ascent made in great time with great people. The trip home wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Hooksett Welcome Center (did you know that UNH is ranked the #1 safest school in the country?). The Fun V and Humdrum V parted ways and went home from there.
Until next time!