It’s the weekend. You know what this means – I’m off to the mountains… except I’m totally not because it’s raining/sleeting/snowing up there. As I’m writing this, it’s down-pouring outside – sad face. But, I have some echinacea tea from Traditional Medicinals with a half of a lemon (10/10 recommend), so I feel nice and cozy.
Knowing the forcasted weather, I obviously went hiking yesterday 🙂
The hike: Mt. Carrigain (4,700 ft). 10.6 miles RT via Signal Ridge Trail.
Needless to say by that picture – it’s full on winter conditions in the White Mountains, above 2500/3000 feet or so that is! It’s a great time to hike because you get two seasons in one, fall at the trailhead, and winter on most of the hike! Just be sure to not let the trailhead fool you into not taking enough or the right gear and layers!
I actually hiked Carrigain back on August 16th, and let me tell you that it was MUCH warmer two and a half months ago! This was my 44th peak for the NH 48 round 1, is my 29th for round 2, and I think my 96th 4K summit overall (I need to double check this, so close to 100 and don’t want to miss it!!). Also super happy to tag the summit in another season – FALL! Not very fall-esque, but I digress.
My first go at this hike I was quite apprehensive about. Not out of fear, but just because only one of my friends gave it two thumbs up! Others commented that it was “boring”, “you needed good views at the top as otherwise no views”, “the 3 mile uphill drags on”, ect. I just kept putting it off and putting it off.
But, I loved it in August! We even added 4 miles to the August hike because the access road was closed due to storm damage and I still enjoyed it! Yes, those comments are true – there aren’t many views until the summit and it surely is a consistent uphill for about 3 miles, but I honestly don’t mind these factors one bit. I think this speaks to how much I enjoy hiking for what it is, not only for the views. If I only wanted views I’d be one of those leaf peeing people slamming on their brakes on the highway to take foliage pictures.
This time, the access road was open – but this will very soon change as Sawyer River Rd. is seasonally open and with the early snowfall and fast accumulation this year, I would give it another week or two at best unless it’s suddenly 75 degrees again outside which who knows, never say never.
Carrigain is one of my faves now – road open or closed. Signal Ridge Trail starts off flat with a few rolling hills sparsely placed throughout the first section. Once hitting the junction with Carrigain Notch Trail, we continued on Signal Ridge which begins to slowly start gaining elevation for about a half mile. After this point, it’s a consistent climb with some switchbacks up to the first open area where it then levels off for a short distance before the final push to the summit!
My favorite section both times hands down is the open area along the ridge before the summit. It’s absolutely gorgeous. This time, it also was absolutely covered in snow drifts.
I really needed this hike yesterday. Safe to say even more than I usually do when I “need to hike”. Between a few back to back hike plans that just didn’t work out, and not feeling like soloing right now, I was very happy to get out. It was kind of spur of the moment as I asked my friend Lawn’s (my friend group has stellar nicknames for each other!) dad who regularly hikes if I could tag along this week and he said yes! So I got my hiking fix, played around in the fluffy snow, and enjoyed the day with two new hiking buddies (Hiker Dad – yep, this is his nickname from Lawn, and Bob)!
At the most basic level, what I needed was to spend a day outside without real life distractions, and some socialization. I’ve had a lot of alone time lately, which while I enjoy it, too much of anything can be a problem. I’m happy to have turned that page a little bit yesterday.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ― Rumi