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 The Moats - 1.2.06 
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:20 am
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Location: Lancaster, NH Avatar: On the trail again
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 The Moats - 1.2.06
Rockgoddess and I met at 8:30am at the Diana's Baths parking lot on West Side Road in North Conway, NH. We car spotted and drove to Passaconaway Road in Albany, NH, buckled up our packs and hit the Moat Mountain Trail by 9am. Gaining elevation to South Moat (2749') was fun beholding a rare red pine forest, many views and viewpoints. This hike has it all with finger and toe climbing, bare ground, snow, ice, and spectacular 360* views for more than a mile from open ledges on South and Middle Moat (2805'). 3250' elevation gain, 10 miles with a ridge walk that we enjoyed immensely in 8.5 hours. The less than 1' cairns and the paint blazes are almost non-existent under snow and ice at the summits of Middle and North Moats which made finding the trail an interesting challenge especially North Moat late in the day. Taller cairns would be most helpful on these two summits. Unless one is familiar with the trail, it can be obscure in the snows of winter. The 360* views from the open summit of North Moat (3199') are superb and are equal or exceed those from the taller summits. The trees now are mostly spruce, some fir, and I pointed out one lone young eastern white pine which usually does not grow at this elevation.

The word moat is a deep wide trench usually associated with the water surrounding a castle. Here, in the early settlers era, the beavers built dams on the sides of the moutains in its streams. It was referred to "going over the moats" to cross the ponds behind the beaver dams.

A warm, beautiful, sunny day to play in the mountains, so warm we took our jackets off. It felt like springtime. One of the best hikes I've ever done and I've been hiking since I was 7. You'll love it!

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Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:51 am
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