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With the weather being great, I was expecting much Sunday afternoon traffic for the ride home. I decided to head up early with the original intention of going up Mt Adams. However on the way, I could see decent humid haze and decided to tackle Mt Carrigain. This is a really nice summit which I tackled last year during my cousins quest for the 48.
I got to the lot on Sawyer River Road just after 8. Already the parking lot was jammed. I squeezed in on the end and readied my things. I was feeling pretty good and knew there was some lengths of flats, so decided to run a bit at the start. I did okay all the way until the inclines and then gassed so I just hiked it up. All along the way there were camps set up for some overnighters just waking.
The ascent went well. I chatted with a few folks coming down who spent the night at the summit, under the full moon. I stopped at a small lookout and chatted with ‘Waumbek’, a seasoned, well traveled hiker with over 1000 summits of the 48.
The ascent seemed to go quick and soon punched out on Signal Ridge. This was as impressive as the last time. It’s a wonderful spot with impressive views down the steep slope and out all the way toward Mt Washington. It pops back down into a small col before the final ascent to the tower platform. There are a few spots to camp and even a well to draw water, but not sure if I’d be up to trying to drink it, even filtered.
I poked out of the woods to the tower. There were a few folks already milling around. Some I recognized from 4000 Footers Facebook group. Those guys push out some crazy hikes and always seem to be smiling and laughing. This brief meet was no different.
I climbed the tower stairs, with my patented ‘death grip’ on the rails. The open steps get me every time. Once up, I’m fine. The tower lifts you over the trees and offers amazing 360 degree views. You can see Mt Washington and down toward the Pemigewasset Wilderness. I took a quick video and some snaps and made my way back down. I found a spot behind the tower through a nook in the trees. Someone had propped up a leftover 2×10 on some rocks for a nice bench, facing a large rock with remnants of a fire at the base. I ate some snacks and rested for about 10-15 minutes before starting back down.
Still feeling well, I stepped lively. I won’t call it trail running, but did make good time down. This also meant I didn’t snap as many photos as I normally do(~50 compared to 150-200 for the day). I hustled down the rocky sections taking time to navigate some tricky spots. I popped out down to the lower dirt trail sections and began to jog. I let gravity do most of the work and just managed to control the descent enough. My calf did tighten up when I lunged over some mud up a slope, so I slowed for a bit there and walked. Again down on the flats I ran a bit more beyond the water crossing and then walked when I reached the real muddy sections of the beginning of the trail.
I found a great spot to sit on a rock on the brook and rested. The breeze was firm through here and kept the bugs away. I enjoyed the sound of the water rushing and the sitting too. It was short-lived though, as soon as the breeze let up, I was swarmed by black flies and bit about 5 times in 10 seconds. The rest ended and I finished out the hike.
It was nice meeting a few of the folks on the trail and I really enjoy this trail and summit.