I have so many horse-related Moats puns, but can’t think of a dog-related one to save my life. So maybe it’s just as well that the drizzly weather kept Lilo home last weekend when I headed out to join three of my most favorite two-legged hiking buddies for a traverse of South, Middle, and North Moat.
The forecast was wet for most of the Whites, but had looked promising for the Conway area. We started off with high hopes for big views. The foliage was a week or so from peak but individual trees were just starting to pop. We admired glimpses through the morning mist.
The mist never did burn off as we’d hoped and we spent a few minutes of the first ascent being actively rained on. Oh, well! South Moat was my favorite summit of the day, with neat textured lichen all dressed up in red.
The wooded saddles between the summits were dark and peaceful, and the reemergence of dirt trail was increasingly welcome. Moat Mountain Trail is probably easy going on a dry day. In the unexpected damp and after a rainfall, though, all that smooth just-steep-enough slab became treacherously slick.
I was endlessly fascinated by the straight lines and stacked look of much of the rock in this range. It looked almost constructed, including this massive wall.
I wanted to share a few more pics, but trying to insert them in the right places while composing on my phone is infuriating — so it’s not going to happen! Just picture more wet rock, more flares of red and orange leaves among still-green forest, and more Halloween mist.
The sun did think about putting in an appearance when we arrived on the windless, weirdly warm summit of North Moat, then decided against it and left us in the clouds.
We had planned to backtrack a mile after tagging North and descend via the allegedly gorgeous Red Ridge trail. As we studied our maps, though, we opted to just continue on Moat Mountsin and save Red Ridge for a clearer day, possibly with Cathedral Ledge thrown in for fun. It was in the not-quite-ten-mile ballpark either way. The folks who care about lists had their summits; the redliners needboth approaches one way or another. And me, I just like to hike! I look forward to returning.
The famous Diana’s Baths lie half a mile up from the parking lot, but we were almost as impressed with the pools and cascades we passed higher up. Everything is low, low, low right now, but we spotted some promising swimming holes. Titus will love this section when he’s ready!
The Baths were likewise dismayingly low, but all that water-carved rock still deserved investigation. There were between twenty and thirty people in the area — quite a shock after seeing nearly no one but each other all day!
I’be definitely lost some fitness over these weeks of hiking less. It took me half the route to really feel like I had my legs under me, especially uphill. That should correct itself now that the dogs are getting back on trail, though. I’m hoping to get out both days this weekend, although I hear that a hurricane may have other ideas…