Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#26 Mt. Carrigain

26. Mt. Carrigain (4700') via Signal Ridge Trail, July 11, 2009 (with update October 27, 2012).  

Miles:  10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3200' elevation gain. 

Trailhead: 2 miles down Sawyer River Road, which is off Route 302 north of Bartlett, NH. Note: this road is gated in the winter.

Lesson learned:  Some days we just move slower and lack that spring in our steps.

Got a bit of a late start for this hike!
 Hiked with Rich and Sandy on a warm, humid day.
Rain, perhaps heavy, was predicted for the evening but the sky was blue and temps moderate when we started out.   Started up at 10 a.m. and was down at the car by .  The trail was very flat for the first 1.5 miles with quite a few water crossings that were fairly high.  Rich and I toughed it out and Sandy used her sandals on some. 
Trail got steeper and soon we had some views. 

The summit observation deck is waaaay up there!
Got to the false summit and saw the observation deck way beyond where we were. Eileen had warned me about this and told me that the trip to the deck (which is the summit) was not as far as it seemed. She was right, we headed along an exposed ridge with spectacular views, then passed a campground (uninhabited), before we ascended one last time to the deck. Rich did climb the deck and we had lunch.  Found the USGS summit marker, took some pictures and headed back down. 

Rich on the observation deck.
 Saw about 15 people on this hike. The humidity made us all seem sluggish and discouraged for a good part of this hike, not at all like us. Sandy fell once on the way up, and on the way down Rich fell on the trail hard, hurting his hand and tailbone.    Had dinner at The Moat.
Such a beautiful hike and I would like to revisit Carrigain when we all have more energy!

Update: Carrigain hike October 27, 2012. 

Hurricane Irene hit this area hard in August of 2011, destroying much of the road and the beginning of the Signal Ridge trail.  In fact, the Sawyer River Road remained closed for over a year, reopening just several weeks before this hike.  Signal Ridge trail has been rerouted and some of the changes are mentioned below:

Change in miles:  10.4 miles RT

Change in elevation gain: 3629'  This was according to our GPS. I doubt the change in the trail resulted in a 400' gain from our 2009 trip.

Trailhead: The Sawyer River Road is rebuilt and well graded. Heading in toward the trailhead parking is less harrowing than heading out as the northbound "lane" has places where there is no room for the driver to move over - no guardrails or trees and the side of the road ends abruptly with a steep down to the river below.  I met a car coming in when I was going out and there was nowhere I could go to give them room to continue, so they pulled right so I could continue. 

The entrance to the trailhead has changed and parts of the trail have been rerouted high up on the left bank of the river. 

The entrance to the trail is no longer near this kiosk but on the other side of the bridge.
Blown down trees and washed away areas where the trail use to be.
The trail has been rerouted up above the river, with bog bridges to protect the trail.

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