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Trip 32 Wildcat D 4062’ and Wildcat A 4422’

8.4 miles 3350’ Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma, Jeannie and Jerry

Well, this was it, I was ready to do #’s 47 and 48. I don’t know how good an idea it was to save these hard mountains for last, but that was what I was faced with. It has been almost 8 weeks since my knee surgery, the knee feels better, but is not 100%. I probabaly shouldn’t have tried to hike till now, but I couldn’t wait. Parking at the Glen Ellis Falls parking lot we take the tunnel under the highway, cross the Ellis River, and the trail almost immediately begins to climb. It dosen’t take long to gain some elevation and soon there are open rock ledges with tremendous views of Mount Washington. Facing the mountain to the left is th Gulf of Slides then working to the right is the ridge where Glen Boulder rests precariously. To the right of that is the summit of Boott Spur, which rises above still invisible Tuckerman Ravine, hidden behind a ridge. Flanking it to the north is Lion’s Head, then the Raymond Cataract and finally Huntington Ravine. Above all is the summit cone with it’s outstanding buildings against the azure blue sky. As we climb and reach higher ledges more things become visible. Mounts Madison and Adams to the north, and as the trail brings us further to the north, Tuckerman Ravine becomes visible to our southeast. The trail brings us into the woods and back to open ledges many times, and many times we thought the next rise would be the summit, but there were again many false summits before finally breaking out of the woods in a field near the summit of Wildcat D. Up from the valley all around us rose ski trails and up the middle one rose the Wildcat Gondolas which I’m sure bring way more people to the summit then foot power. There is a big deck on top of the summit building and we rested there and had some food and water while marvelling at the view of Mount Washington and it’s ravines. To the north more of the Northern Presidentials are becoming visible. A short climb up from here brings you to the actual summit of Wildcat D. It also has a large viewing deck, and is probably less crowded than the deck near the gondolas. From here it is a long hot hike across Wildcat Ridge to Wildcat A. There are a lot of ups and downs and a considerable elevation gain, after what seems a long time we finally reach a cliff above Carter Notch. The Carter Lakes and Carter Notch Huts look like tiny puddles surrounded by shiny rocks far below us. Well, I did it. 32 trips and 48 4000’ mountains later I have all the New Hampshire 4000 footers. I do feel like I accomplished something, but I don’t feel done. Now I want to get Jude and Emma and any one else I can through them. The smart thing now would have been to continue down from here to 19 Mile Brook Trail and hiked out that way. If we had planned better we could have done this as we had 2 cars, but we didn’t do it this way. On my next trip there this is how we did it and I was glad we did as it proved much easier than what we did on this trip, which was return across all those ups and downs of Wildcat Ridge and back down the way we came up. Very hard. We were doing well and were near being back to Wildcat D when Jude turned her ankle. After fighting off the initial nausea she was able to continue, though slowly, which was hard as we were all tired and wanted to be done. We tried to convince Jude to take the gondola down, but she refused as most of the hike was over and it was mostly downhill now. To add to the slow down, now I slipped. Of course I went down compressing my surgery knee. I was in instant pain, and it instantly began to swell. Well another long stop while I regained my composure and got back up. We sent Jeannie and Jerry on ahead, no sense in them having to wait for us to limp out of the woods. Amazingly we actually got out of the woods only a few minutes behind them. I think I’ll rest my knee from climbing for a while,(at least another 2 weeks.)
K(48) J(39) E(28)
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