View Full Version : a circuit hike to The Imp and back

05-12-2016, 19:29
Five years ago, I broke my ankle maybe a mile south of The Imp shelter. After the ultimate slackpack down the mountain (carried on a kevlar litter by rescuers), I'd like to give it another shot, and am planning to pick up where I left off and head north to Stratton or Caratunk in late summer. Since this circuit would be the first two days of my section hike, I am looking for the easiest (yes. I know it won't really be easy) way to hike up to The Imp from Route 2 and return. One of the legs will be Route 2 to The Imp or vice-versa; the other could be the Carter-Moriah trail or the Stony Brook Trail to The Imp cutoff or something else entirely.

Could someone who knows the area and the side trails well suggest a solution? I'll be starting from either Hiker's Paradise or White Mtn Lodge and Hostel.

05-13-2016, 07:09
1 mile south puts you somewhere near the base of North Carter a spot that has claimed more than a few folks. It is one of steeper potentially slippery unpublicized stretches of the AT in the whites. "About 1 mile" puts you at the base of the steep section, if you are off on your distance and need the steep section of North Carter, the recommended route is going to change.

Assuming you had your accident at the base of the steep section and don't want to repeat this section then the easiest route is to stay at the White Mountain Hostel and get a shuttle to the Stony Brook trail. Its highly likely you were carried down it, its real well graded up to the ridge line. Then head south on the AT until you hit where you had the accident. Then stay at the Imp Shelter and the next morning take to the AT to RT2 and you are back at the White Mountain Hostel. Many AT hikers do the entire ridge line from Pinkham as a long day hike and this hike could be done as day hike, total distance is 12 miles. Hiking this stretch without a backpack as a dayhike is a lot easier than lugging a backpack. (When I used to section hike I normally try to do a slackpack on the first day to get limbered up and this is a nice stretch to do it)

If your accident was high up on North Carter , the easiest route involves a non signed but obvious short cut to the south end of the Imp Trail. Get a shuttle to Camp Dodge, the AMC facility on RT 16. Walk up the main Road and come out in an open area. Go straight up the hill past a building with old AMC signs along the edge of the roof, go up the hill slightly keeping the majority of the buildings on your right, to the left are large wall tents hung off wooden frames. Go straight in the woods up an obvious old logging road. Follow the road along an obvious path until you intersect a well used trail, there are usually old trees and brush on the other side of the trail at this intersection. Take a right and you are now on the south side of the Imp trail. This is a well graded old logging grade. Follow this to the North Carter trail and then take the North Carter Trail up to the AT. Take a left and you then soon be back on top of North Carter. This also could be done as a somewhat longer day hike. Even though the shortcut is quite easy, you could also get a shuttle to the south trailhead of the Imp trail and add a few miles of pretty boring woods walk.

Hikers Paradise does not offer shuttles and is definitely a couple of steps lower then White Mountain lodge. If the shuttle driver is familiar with the area, they can skip a short section of the Stony Brook trail and drop you off at the end of road in the Stony Brook development to the old Stony Brook trail, it will look real familiar as that's most likely where they carried you out to. Follow the old road along the stream and in short distance you will interest the new Stony Brook trail coming in from the streambed on the left.

05-13-2016, 10:35
Many thanks, peakbagger, for the detailed info. No, I don't need to do the steep section of North Carter. I managed that, only to succumb a little lower down. It was at a spot with a drop of 4-5 feet. I remember standing at the top for some time, figuring out how to get down. I took one little step, the ankle just collapsed, and I found myself at the bottom. I don't think I slipped.

I have stayed at both Hiker' Paradise and the White Mtn Hostel, so yes, I agree with you on the hostel choice.

I probably did get carried out via the Stony Brook trail, though I didn't see much of it. I do remember that a truck met me on what looked like a woods road and drove me out to Route 16, where an ambulance was waiting.

As for slackpacking, I haven't done that in 1900+ miles of the AT, so I wasn't even considering it. Also, a 12-mi. day hike might be a bit much for me right out of the gate, and I'd like to spend a night at The Imp (love the name).