Mt. Carrigain
2011 Oct 22
Fred Knight and Charlie Anderson
Fred's Home

Map Charlie Anderson and Fred Knight were so excited about the hike that they both woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep for awhile. Then, for me, it was time to get up all too soon after I finally fell back asleep. The drive up took 3 hours in the new van, with satellite radio. Reaching the Signal Ridge Trail trailhead required a 2-mile stroll on the Sawyer River Road, impassable because of a washout of 90% of the roadway at a stream crossing about a mile in. The trail had only a gentle upslope for the first 1.7 miles. The early stream crossings were fun; no wet feet or spills. After the split, the trail steepened, but small switchbacks kept the going bearable on the final ascent. That long leg in the middle was indeed long! We met a few other hikers, one of whom was completing his 48 NH 4000'ers. (Well, we actually were told this by his hiking partners who said he was still celebrating at the top, but we never actually saw him. A mystery.) We also greeted three guys who had spent the night out, having bushwhacked on Friday from the Nancy Pond area. Wow!

We continued to hope for breaking clouds, but there was little blue sky. At the top, we were completely socked in while we ate our lunch of potato-leek soup (Thanks, Melanie!) from the thermos, Honey Pot Honey Crisp apple, and New Zealand ginger snaps (Very snappy!).

We took the same 4 hours down as up. Not sure why. The clouds parted somewhat, but there was a gentle mist coming down late in the hike. Book time up inthe AMC Guide is 4:10 for the trail part, so we were under that (3:20 subtracting 40 minutes on the road.). However, the RT book time is 6:40 ( here ), which is what we did. (So quit boasting, Fred!)

Mt Carrigain was my 29th 4000'er. Next is Galehead. Then we are into winter and fun with the snow. Everybody's excited about that.

Summary: 14 miles (4 on road), 3200' rise on trail plus 600' on road to Mt Carrigain summit at 4700', 8:25 start; 4:55 finish

Don't forget to click on those photos and the map.
previous next Fred's Home 9 images
Sawyer RIver Road, washout, 1 mile in
Sawyer River Road, washout, 1 mile in
Road is closed, 2-mile walk to trailhead
Only fork in the road, only 400' rise, 2800' to go
Only fork in the road, only 400' rise, 2800' to go
Very wide trial up until the split
Mt Carriagain, post lunch of potato-leek soup
Mt Carriagain, post lunch of potato-leek soup
4 hours up,into the fog,no views
Ready to return, a few snow flurries, no accumlation
Ready to return, a few snow flurries, no accumlation
We reached the summit shrouded in clouds,donned our warmer gear and had lunch
Slight clearing on the way down
Slight clearing on the way down
We a few hazy vistas from the upper switchbacks
Trial looked steeper ont he map, which didn't show the switchbacks
Trial looked steeper ont he map, which didn't show the switchbacks
Trail was fairly clear of boulders.
Stopping for a view, ~1 mile below summit
Stopping for a view, ~1 mile below summit
Looking NE toward the Presidentials
Brook on the lower trail
Brook on the lower trail
We had a few creek crossings,all without mishap
Coming back down Sawyer River Road
Coming back down Sawyer River Road
Other than the washout,the road is intact,an easy ending