Shawn and Elleing on Moriah.

Mount Moriah (4049')

2004 September 11

View of the northern presidentials from an outlook on Moriah.

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - Mount Moriah, Gorham, NH - Shawn, Elleing and Ash for reasons not truly understood drove 2.5 hours to the trailhead of one of the Northern 4000 foot summits in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Their 8:00 am departure put them slightly behind schedule, but they made up for it with zero stops along the way. By 10:45, the car was secured at the end of Bangor St. and the adventurous trio began their journey up the Carter-Moriah trail to the summit of what would be Shawn and Elleing's 36th or the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers.

Although Shawn thought they were off to an ideal day, Elleing was less optomistic. Before they left they pavement, Elleing noted, "It feels like we're hiking in someone's back yard." She may not have been far off since the trail head, if not the trail itself, is at the edge of a yard. When the trail climbed steeply from the onset, Elleing also commented on how steep the trail was and suggested they turn back now. Shawn silently reconsidered his intial prediction of the day ahead.

The trail trekking trio plodded up the fairly mild, although initially steep, terrain. Passing through lightly wooded areas, the trail quickly rose above the small town of Gorham. Occasional views of an adjacent ridge provided a benchmark of their slow but steady progress. Fatigue set in quickly and Elleing frequently asked Shawn if they were there yet.

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Shawn trudged up endless slabs of granite with declining enthusiasm. Hardly his favorite type of terrain, he hopelessly told himself that the terrain would change soon and his achilles tendons could relax a little. Recent wet weather wasn't helping matters but his footwear, Merrill trail shoes, seemed to have far superior grip to his companions' boots. Shawn tried to reconcile the slab struggle by noting they provided excellent views of the Presidential Range in a number of locations. He noticed the summits of Madison and Adams were cloudless; an experience he missed during his only time up there.


The lunch and rest stops were complemented by excellent views and beautiful weather. Shawn and Elleing feasted on rotisserie cooked chicken sandwiches with roasted red peppers, and swiss cheese. The long breaks were welcome but did little to shorten the perceived length of the hike. Each break felt like it was followed by a short decent that discouraged the group in the knowledge that more climbing would be required after they left the summit.


The Carter-Moriah trail continued past a large outcrop of granite that is the summit of Mount Moriah. The triumphant trio turned off the trail and emerged to long awaited views. They said hello to a hiker who was waiting patiently for his slow-moving friend then Ash and Elleing promptly sat themselves on the ground while Shawn stood staring into the wilderness east of the Carter-Moriah range for the first time.

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When Shawn asked what Ash thought of the trail and Mount Moriah, Ash didn't hold back. "I won't be back. I didn't think the trail was that interesting and the summit is very small. It's a pretty good view from Moriah's summit, but not worth the walk." Elleing was equally honest and critical. "I liked Garfield, but I don't like this mountain." Shawn was hard pressed to argue. Although he enjoyed the hike and the varied terrain, he wished they had tried the Stony Brook trail instead. Nevertheless, Shawn enjoyed the hike and the viewbagging that the day provided.

After enduring a painful decent, the totally trounced trio drove half an hour south on Route 16 to the Red Parka Inn for dinner. Only another 2.5 hours from there and the tired trio would be home. Shawn drove back via route 16 to I-95. It was probably a bad choice and he knew it. He had gone this way many times before and he never ceased to get frustrated with the traffic. Even if it was slightly longer, Shawn promised himself he'd cut over to I-93 in the future.

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