Descending into the ice and fog.
Photo by Ryan Linn
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Mt. Moriah

Another week of heavy snow in New England meant the mountains were ripe for exploration. My friend, Hikerbox, had one 4000 Footer left on his peakbagging list before he heads out west, so he proposed an overnight hike to Mt Moriah for last weekend.

Ryan Linn       Trip Report       02/10/2015
Ryan Linn
Trip Report
02/10/2015

Another week of heavy snow in New England meant the mountains were ripe for exploration. My friend, Hikerbox, had one 4000 Footer left on his peakbagging list before he heads out west, so he proposed an overnight hike to Mt Moriah for last weekend. Philip and I gladly joined in for the opportunity to do some alpine snow camping.

A hiker climbs a slope through deep snow.
Philip starts the day with a climb into the new powder.
Photo by Ryan Linn
A hiker wades through deep snow.
Entering the Wild River Wilderness, the trail disappeared into the snow within 100 ft.
Photo by Ryan Linn

Though the trail up to the Carter-Moriah Range’s ridge was broken out by a few sets of snowshoes before us, the snow was still so fresh and fluffy that we needed snowshoes the entire way.

I find this to be a rare luxury in the White Mountains, where for the past several winters I’ve seen only snow that’s so packed down by hundreds of pairs of feet that snowshoes become nearly useless. Once the snow falls in the Whites, the trails get packed so quickly that most people leave their snowshoes in the car and go out with just Microspikes or similar light traction.

With a couple hours listening to the soft swishing of our snowshoes, we were at the top of the Stony Brook Trail, where all previous tracks turned north toward Mt Moriah. Instead, we took the path not traveled at all, and dropped down the Moriah Brook Trail, wading through several feet of soft powder until we decided we’d had enough and stopped to make camp.

Hiking gear sits on the snowy ground.
Squint real hard and you can imagine granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Photo by Ryan Linn

This was only around 12:30 in the afternoon, so we used the time to dig a kitchen pit, gather firewood, and build ourselves a nice home for the afternoon and evening.

One of many great things about winter camping is that you can build as elaborate a camp as you like without as much worry about Leave No Trace as summer.

We dug down close to five feet into the snow to make a fire pit, added benches, a counter, and a wind wall before we were finished. When we left camp the next morning, we knocked much of the snow wall down into the pit, and by summertime there will be no evidence we were ever there.

We had a long, relaxing evening with plenty of hot cocoa and snow melting, and a late winter bedtime of 8 PM.

I especially love backpacking in winter with fresh snow because of how wild and lonely the world becomes. The snow mutes all sound, and the blackness of the forest closes in around you in ways that you don’t get in other environments. It’s as peaceful as can be, and in many ways the most remote you can get.

A green tent sits in the deep snow, surrounded by snowy trees.
Home sweet home for the night.
Photo by Ryan Linn

One of many great things about winter camping is that you can build as elaborate a camp as you like without as much worry about Leave No Trace as summer.

We dug down close to five feet into the snow to make a fire pit, added benches, a counter, and a wind wall before we were finished. When we left camp the next morning, we knocked much of the snow wall down into the pit, and by summertime there will be no evidence we were ever there.

We had a long, relaxing evening with plenty of hot cocoa and snow melting, and a late winter bedtime of 8 PM.

I especially love backpacking in winter with fresh snow because of how wild and lonely the world becomes. The snow mutes all sound, and the blackness of the forest closes in around you in ways that you don’t get in other environments. It’s as peaceful as can be, and in many ways the most remote you can get.

Two hikers stand on a snowy ridge, surrounded by fog.
Beginning the ridgewalk along the Carter-Moriah Range.
Photo by Ryan Linn
A group of hikers stand in a snowy forest.
Sheltered below the summit of Moriah.
Photo by Ryan Linn

In the morning, with a few new inches of snow and more coming down, we met the rest of our group back at the trail junction, and proceeded to hike through the snow and clouds to Moriah. There were few, if any, views from the open ledges on the way up the mountain, but that didn’t make the trek any less delightful.

We pushed through deep snow drifts, and into marshmallow forests, occasionally blasted by a bitter east wind. The summit was too windy for lengthy celebrations when Hikerbox finished his final NH4K summit, but the trudge back to the cars was reward enough.

With more snow falling throughout the week, it looks like this delightful winter will continue. I’m hoping for many more overnight trips in the near future.

A group of hikers stand on a snowy summit and celebrate.
Hikerbox celebrates quickly on the summit.
Photo by Ryan Linn

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Presidential Range, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Photo by Ryan Linn
Presidential Range, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Photo by Ryan Linn

White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest is home to New Hampshire’s highest peaks and over a thousand miles of hiking trails!

250+ miles of trail (400 km)
$29.99 full guide
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About the Author
A man wears a blue shirt, blue backpack, and a tan baseball cap.

Ryan Linn

Ryan is also known as “Guthook”, which is where our apps get their name. Already an avid hiker, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, New England Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail before joining forces with Paul to create the Guthook Guides apps. Ryan handles iOS development for our apps from his office in Maine, and usually runs away to the forests and mountains throughout New England. He also volunteers with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Baxter State Park in Maine is his happy place.