Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mt. Carrigain 7-16-11

Another unique approach was in order for my 32nd peak of my quest for 48. With an appointment for work in the morning this past Saturday, I planned to start some sort of hike by mid-afternoon. I changed and hit the road up route 93. My plans were still uncertain around 1:30pm when I met my brother who was at our camp near Tilton. We met at a nearby pawn shop to check it out. They had a couple of nice canoes out front. The main reason I was meeting him was to get a rainfly to use as a tarp in case I decided to camp out.

So its about 2pm and I'm headed up 93, still unsure what to do. I don't recommend anyone follow this method, but at this point, I'm thinking about what mountains are next as soon as I'm finished with the last one, so by mid-week, I've already read the guide and calculated all of the mileage and elevation, not to mention probably at least 4 other blog posts with trip reports. I decided on Mt. Carrigain by the Signal Ridge Trail. It was exactly 4pm as I started up, and I was excited to be heading up later in the afternoon, like a said, a unique approach thus far. 

With a good chunk of the trail at the beginning nice and flat, I picked it up to a light jog. It became a more gradual ascent after leaving the junction with the Carrigain Notch Trail. The cliffs of Mt. Lowell began to tease through the trees as they become thinner.

Unless you stop to take a rest, it's just a few minutes until the trail finally breaks out onto the ridge with incredible views. Unsolicited, a young boy with his family informed me that the summit was about a half hour more. I actually thought I reached the summit, but then I saw the observation deck. 

So I headed up the trail and was at the summit in about 15 minutes. The views were incredible, and I had a blast identifying the Hancocks, Trips, and of course Washington. In fact, 43 of the 48 4000 footers are visible from Mt. Carrigain, except I'm not good enough to point every single one out, just good enough to hike them all, and experience it all. As I near the end of this quest, I'm really starting to get the 360 degree views.

I met a nice couple around my age at the summit who were camping the night. I noticed many trail side camp sites, including a set of tents about a mile in from the start, so this must be popular. They had a bottle of whiskey and we're kind enough to share a couple swigs. I stayed for about a half hour and we talked some hiking. You might notice I didn't take many pictures on the summit. I think its because I saw so many mountains, I didn't know what to do, except enjoy it.

Brook crossing near the end, still light
The descent was straightforward. I stopped for a couple of minutes on the exposed ridge, this time no other people, to watch the sun go down a short distance. As I descended, the sun started to fade more behind the ridge. I actually passed the family that gave me the half hour heads up, and I also passed another woman who was going down both times I saw her; the second time, she asked me if I had gone all of the way up. She said it was one of her first times hiking, and she asked me about the family being up there after dark. I suggested that the family probably hikes often, and if they didn't it was a relatively easy trail. She didn't seem to have very much gear herself, but I walked the last half mile or so with her out to Sawyer River Road. It was 8:20pm. If you take out my much enjoyed half hour break at the summit, it took me just under 4 hours. I was figuring I would be using my headlamp, but not the case.

Well, I was back at the car, but I didn't leave to head home or to head back to camp. To find out what I did next to continue my quest, you'll just have to read my next post. But if you would like to view my album view or click the slideshow below.

Hike Stats
Trails: Signal Ridge Trail
Miles: 10
Elevation Gain: 3250 ft


  1. Ha. I actually finished the 48 on Carrigain same day. Back at the car by around 3:30 ish though, so looks like I missed you by half an hour or so. Pretty similar car-to-car times on the mtn, just different intervals of the day.

    I finished VT 4Ker's on Sunday with Abraham & Ellen. I see you were hard at work Sunday as well. It was a good weekend to be productive.

  2. Victor, that's awesome. Given the views, it seems like Carrigain is a great one to finish on. It was a pretty easy hike for the views. That must feel great knocking 2 states off the list in one weekend. The next few weeks as I finish up are going to be exciting.

  3. Wow great pictures! Seems like you flew up Carrigain. Friendly couples with whiskey are always an added bonus to any hike. You started around 4 PM, so I'm guessing its a pretty short hike. Would you recommend it for an evening hike to catch the sunset? or is it long enough for a half-day trip?

  4. Hi Jam, Its 10 miles even round trip. I certainly recommend Carrigain as an evening hike to watch the sunset. The trail is gradual with pretty easy footing. In my opinion it was one of the easier trails of them all, so depending on your normal book time, Carrigain can be either type of trip. Some folks consider the 13.5 mile loop with the Carrigain Notch Trail. That could be your half-day option. Thank you for your comment.

  5. You know which one you plan on finishing yet?

  6. At the moment, I'm planning on it being Monroe, but maybe I will finagle something to end on Washington, but we'll see! Planning to end August 13th.

  7. What a day! Hoping for one like this for FOT48 in Sept. Sad to hear that 8/13 is the planned finish since I had hoped we might be able to join you (it will be a party, right?). We'll be in Acadia then but thinking about your finish!

  8. Hi Mark,

    I just checked out the website for FOT48. I had to look it up, but I would be interested in participating. Thats quite a thing. Which mountain are you choosing? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail.