Tuesday, January 22, 2013

W48-in-1: Mt. Carrigain & Tecumseh - 1/19/2013

This Saturday was a great day for winter hiking. It was one of those days where it turned it out just a little bit better than forecast - basically not as cold. The sun tried to poke it's way through, but what you see above is just about all I got. So it turned out that Mt. Carrigain was going to be my next peak on the way to 48 this winter. I arrived at the Sawyer River Road winter lot at about 4:30am. It was 5 degrees and snowing really good (which was expected for the morning hours). I had given myself some time to get ready in the car, and at 5:00am, I was headed up the dark road for two miles.
Signal Ridge Trail
Trail reports described some parts of the old trail were tracked out, and that part got me confused a little bit near one of the crossings. I'm convinced morning twilight is more challenging than any other time of day to hike. It's not easy to see, even with a headlamp. I went backwards a little bit to the old junction, and I found my way more confidently on the old trail (which was slightly tracked), and after that I was smooth sailing up the Signal Ridge Trail. It was a great snowy solo winter climb up Carrigain. When I reached the ridge, the wind was gusting nicely, and the snow swirled in circles to my right on the leeward side of the ridge. About 15 minutes later, I reached the summit of Carrigain for the first time in winter, and my 28th of 48 in winter. I enjoyed the windy and cold summit observation tower for about 10 minutes, and then headed down, ending in 7 hours flat.
Signal Ridge below Carrigain summit 
Mt. Carrigain summit in winter

Since I finished at noon time, I was able to carry through with my plan of bagging two peaks for the day. I removed my boots and gaiters and drove back in to Conway. I took a right, and took in a winter drive of the entire Kancamagus Highway as I made my way towards Mt. Tecumseh. After a nice ride and some water and food replenishment into my body, I was ready to go bag Tecumseh. I started up the Tecumseh Trail at 2:50pm.

I was going pretty light for this one, basically some layers, essentials, and my lightweight Snowboogie sled, which was attached to my pack. I reached the summit in 1 hour. I put on my microspikes when I came across, not a broken-out trail, but a sled-tracked out trail, so that is when they were especially helpful in getting me to the top quickly - and also, that's how I know I'm not the only nut climbing a peak with a sled on my pack. When I arrived at the summit, the views were the best of the day, but it was colder. I felt it more quickly on my hands than I did that morning on Carrigain.

Mt. Tecumseh summit in winter
Mt. Tecumseh summit view
4th time to Tecumseh, 3rd time in winter
I didn't linger very long. I had some quick trail snacks, water, and put on a warmer layer and I was ready for the descent. Looking at the sled tracks on the way up, I knew I was going to be in for a nice ride. There was still plenty of daylight remaining, and I was pumped. I reached two separate-hike 4000 footers, almost 20 miles in 9 hours of hiking. Both summits provided some views, and hiking in the cold and falling snow is always amazing, so this sled ride down was a great end to my day! I was back at my camp in Belmont in time to watch the Bruins, and to get some rest for Sunday's hike with my brother to the Hancocks. Now buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Hike Stats - Carrigain
Trails: Sawyer River Road, Signal Ridge Trail
Distance: 14 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,800 ft.
Actual Book Time: 7:00

Hike Stats - Tecumseh
Trails: Mt. Tecumseh Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft.
Actual Book Time: 2:00


  1. Looks like a fun sled ride.

    BTW, the slide shows are working properly, at least on my Win 7 IE 9 system (images occupy only the left side of the viewer, about 1/4 of the width). Or with Firefox (they dont' show at all).

    Individual images are fine.

    1. After I published this comment, the slides shows are working now...must have been a problem on my end.

    2. Hi, It sure was a fun ride - better than my first time down on the sled.

      Thanks for letting me know - glad it finally worked. For me, there is a common issue or something with Picasa and Blogger. Maybe that has something to do with it. When I write my posts, and I insert the embedded slideshow from my picasaweb into my editor, I am unable to see the slideshow at all in my editor, but I can when I preview and post my reports. That is why sometimes I've forgot to put in the slideshow.