Carrigain

Hikes, NH48, TripReport , ,

A near perfect weather day for a hike. Joined Kevin on his quest for the 48. He is nearly there. We arrived at the lot a few miles down Sawyer River Road, prepped our gear and off we went. The temps were still cool as it was still early, but the sun was shining. Across the road from the lot begins the Signal Ridge Trail. This will be our way to and from Mt Carrigain.
The 1.7 miles to the junction are a quick walk in the woods with little elevation change. Just before the junction of Carrigain Notch Trail and Signal Ridge Trail, we need to cross Carrigain Brook. This was an easy log/rock hop across as the water level was low. Once past and over a few bog boards we stay left at the junction. A few minor ups and downs and find the start of the elevation gain. The majority of the next 3 miles are up to the ridge. The trail is in decent shape with only a few obstacles to negotiate. There are a couple brief lookouts through the trees, but mostly viewless until you pop out on the ridge. Once there you remember why you invested all that effort.
Views on both sides of the ridge, on this day, seem to go on forever. To the right, over Vose Spur, you can make out the Willey Range and beyond that is the Presidential Range with Mt Washington standing tall above all others. Up ahead, there is a small col to dip into then up to the tower already in sight atop Carrigain. A few photo ops and we continue to the summit.
Once we hit the summit, just about 0930, we climb up the fire tower. I employ the death grip on the rails as the steps are open and the landings are metal grates. Once up top, it is a wooden deck and I’m able to relax a bit and enjoy the view. The 360 degree views and absolutely amazing. The photos do not do it justice, it must be experienced.
Up on the tower, another hiker already there. I recognize her from one of the Facebook groups focused on the 4k’s in NH (https://www.facebook.com/groups/hikenh4k/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/16316918492/). I always admire the folks who post their adventures. I mainly enjoy the perspective of others photos and to learn the different approaches to each summit. It was quite nice chatting a bit, seemed a wealth of knowledge and wished it was longer, but she was off. It was also nice to know we shared a similar death grip on the stairs. There was another gentleman up there as well. He was on the quest as well. He shared his wife and he were catching up on summits they differed on. While he was on Carrigian she was on another which should sync them to finish the 48 together. I think he mentioned he wife was on her second round though.
After eating a bit for lunch, we started our descent. This was the first time for me to try using poles, on any hike. I bought them for a couple reasons, first was to use for a tarp should I want to hammock on the ground, and second to assist with water crossings. I have watched folks who seem to fair better with them across some rock hopping.
We made quick work down to the col and onto the ridge. The views still amazing. The poles do seem to help with balance, though I’m not certain if they reduce fatigue as much as most proclaim. I will try to use them again a few times to make a better decision. Once on the ridge again, a few more photos, and we continued the descent. We seemed to be motivated as the descent was going quite well. We only missed one turn, but quickly realized it was an old reroute and made our way back on track. We made it down in approximately 2.5 hours, pretty decent descent ;-). I think that was one of the earliest finishes to a 4k hike. We parted ways as Kevin was camping not too far away and I was heading back home.

6am drive by on Rt 302 .. the sun rising above the Presidential range with the Mt Washington Hotel in the foreground.
6am drive by on Rt 302 .. the sun rising above the Presidential range with the Mt Washington Hotel in the foreground.
Hitting the Signal Ridge trail
Hitting the Signal Ridge trail
'The' water crossing.  This was a mild rock/tree hop across
‘The’ water crossing. This was a mild rock/tree hop across
A strip of heavy duty bog boards
A strip of heavy duty bog boards
At 1.7mi in, hang a left at the junction of Carrigain Notch Trail and Signal Ridge Trail
At 1.7mi in, hang a left at the junction of Carrigain Notch Trail and Signal Ridge Trail
Not certain what peak was peaking through
Not certain what peak was peaking through
A lush mossy spot where water drained across the trail
A lush mossy spot where water drained across the trail
Gaining elevation after some effort and reaping the reward
Gaining elevation after some effort and reaping the reward
Beautiful fading blues
Beautiful fading blues
Vose Spur juts out in the foreground steering your eyes toward the clouds skimming over Pierce/Eisenhower with Mt Washington beyond
Vose Spur juts out in the foreground steering your eyes toward the clouds skimming over Pierce/Eisenhower with Mt Washington beyond
Shameless selfie, happy to be up high
Shameless selfie, happy to be up high
More of the same view, can't get enough
More of the same view, can’t get enough
Kevin checking out where we'll be soon.  The fire tower looks like a tree atop Carrigain
Kevin checking out where we’ll be soon. The fire tower looks like a tree atop Carrigain
How many times did I get this view?  Not enough ;-)
How many times did I get this view? Not enough 😉
A glance back
A glance back
A grove of tree trunks host some cool hanging moss / lichen nearing the summit
A grove of tree trunks host some cool hanging moss / lichen nearing the summit
Five miles from the road, we poke out at the tower.
Five miles from the road, we poke out at the tower.
The Desolation Trail sign at the summit
The Desolation Trail sign at the summit
After the harrowing climb(for me) up the tower stairs, settle in to absorb some amazing views
After the harrowing climb(for me) up the tower stairs, settle in to absorb some amazing views
A peek into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  The Bonds(right), Franconia Ridge(with Lincoln slide in view) and Owlshead in the middle
A peek into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Bonds(right), Franconia Ridge(with Lincoln slide in view) and Owlshead in the middle
Layered ranges with the moon sneaking in
Layered ranges with the moon sneaking in
My happy place
My happy place
Summit pin under the tower
Summit pin under the tower
More selfie action on the descent
More selfie action on the descent
Making great time down the flats
Making great time down the flats
The sun beaming down flickering through the leaves
The sun beaming down flickering through the leaves
Back the junction, 1.7 miles left
Back the junction, 1.7 miles left
POW, back to the lot in short order.
POW, back to the lot in short order.
A cool rock face along Rt 302, I believe extends from Mt Beamis
A cool rock face along Rt 302, I believe extends from Mt Beamis
First time stopping at the lookout parking along Rt 302.  The Mt Washington Hotel with the Presidential Range for a backdrop
First time stopping at the lookout parking along Rt 302. The Mt Washington Hotel with the Presidential Range for a backdrop

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