4000 Footer Club

Wildcat D
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Elevation:   4,062 Feet
Summited: August 30-31, 2011
Distance:    12+ miles
Difficulty:    Strenuous
Views:        Five Excellent Views, including Washington, Adams, Madison
Route:        Lost Pond Trail → Wildcat Ridge Trail → Wildcat D Summit → Wildcat Ridge Trail → Wildcat Summit →
                  Wildcat Ridge Trail → Lost Pond Trail

   NOTE: Hurricane Irene, August 26-28, 2011
              White Mountain National Forest CLOSED August 27-28, 2011
              Rte 112(Kancamagus) CLOSED Indefinitely
              Rte 302 CLOSED @ Bartlett(Northbound)

  Coming from East Conway, I was forced to choose between the Carters or Wildcat this day. I pulled off at the AMC Pinkham Notch Lodge to get some food, fluids and ponder my day. I decided to stay at the lodge and hike the Wildcats. The parking was free and I assumed the AT would be cleared of debris better than any other trail. I made the mistake of filling my Camelbak from the fountain in the Pack Room at the lodge. I later found out that they jacked up the chlorine in the drinking water. It was not refreshing. Luckily, I filled my bottles with filtered tap.

  I left the lot onto the AT, Lost Pond Trail, heading towards the ridge. I immediately came upon wreckage from the storm. It was a leisurely mile hike to Wildcat Ridge Trail. There are great views at the pond where Mt Washington shines as the reflection in the water. The trail takes a left and straight up Wildcat Ridge. It was immediate and constant. The next two miles were a challenge. It was my first 4k footer of the year and the trail was wet and steep. At points, they drilled 4x4's into the face of the rocks as steps. It was 2 hours from hell mixed in with awesome views of Washington and the Presidentials. I finally reached the Wildcat Mtn gondola. There were some picnic tables there, so I decided to sit down, strip and have lunch. I had already gone through half of my bottled water, so I decided to drink the water from my camelbak. That was a mistake. After 20 minutes or so, I continued on to the summit and the observation deck. It was there where I almost lost my lunch and after a long rest, decided not to continue. I took the gondola down to Wildcat Mountian Ski resort and walked back to the AMC Pinkham Notch. I almost made it back on the road, before I got sick. Luckily, I was still parked. I headed home and came back the next day.

  I parked at the Lodge again and walked north to the Wildcat Mtn Ski Resort and took the gondola up and continued my hike onto Wildcat Mountain. The summits of Wildcat are not marked well, if at all. The route from the D summit to the A summit consisted of hiking up and down about five cols. The summit was unmarked, as far as I could tell. I turned around where the trail headed to the right and down the mountain. The hike back was just as long as far as time goes because of the wet rock and the steepness of the trail. I was glad I had brought my trekking pole. I needed it on the way down. It was nice to know that the last mile would be easy and my car would be waiting for me at the end of the trail. All in all, a great few days of hard hiking, great views and good people. One good aspect of hiking alone is that it allows you the opportunity to stop and talk to people without leaving a group.