Friday, November 23, 2012

# 39 Carrigain Nov 23 2012

Mt Carrigain 4700 ft (#39/48)Friday Nov 23, 2012

From Signal Ridge trail-head via Signal Ridge trail; 10.0 miles. Elevation gain & loss 3642 ft.
AMC book time:  4:14 up,  2:35 down, total 6:49.
My moving time (excluding breaks over 5 minutes)  5:10 up:     3:05 down:       total:  8:15
     Ratios to book time about 1.2 , actually not bad for me. I thought  going up was much worse, especially after finding that someone that got to the top just after me started over two hours after me.

  Not sure why, but it was a pretty hard hike up for me. But it wasn't particularly steep or difficult looking pretty good elevation gain though for 1 peak.  Maybe it was the Thanksgiving dinner the day before. I got a later start then I had planned startec at 0645.  Had some problems finding Sawyer River Rd.  I had plugged the coordinates for the trailhead into my cars GPS and evidentley it didn't know about Sawyer River road and it kept trying to send me in from Rt 302 to do a  beeline bushwack.  I had planned to hike this weekend, but the weather Sat & Sun was snow and colder. Friday was a perfect day.  Not sure how warm it got (50?) but I was down to one thin layer after 10 am.
Carrigain is a great hike and most noted for its great 360 degrees views from the firetower above its peak.  Many people save it for a celebration of the last of their 48 4,00 footers. I was going to save it or Madison for my last, but when I saw that the Saywer River road was open (it had been closed for repairs since Irene) and would probably close for the winter by December 1st, I figured I grab her now and save myself 4 miles of road hike and 500 ft of elevation change.
  The trail is almost a level "walk through the woods" for the the first half through bare hardwood trees then ascends at a fairly uniform rate along the east side of Signal Ridge through fir that occasionlly offer views  to the east, Voss peak in particular which is on the NE 100 list and an interesting looking mountain (see pics) .
I don't have the words to describe how great the views from the tower were, so I took  pictures at 8 compass points and loaded them below.  The trip down was surprisingley easy and fast for me. 

New camera since I broke my old one last trip. This one is much heavier but has a 12X optical Zoom.

Only a few small signs of ice on the lower trails

Lower trails are easy walk through the woods.
First view of the ridge .

Why?  (I think maybe to divert people from an old trail )

Only significant crossing - easy rock hop 15 paces to the left (east)

Beaver dams next 3 pictures

View of signal ridge through the woods. 

Birch forest

Vose Spur

more ice, but not enough to put on spikes.

A few views of the peaks on the way up.

Worst iced up section on trail easy to get around
 but I still took a fall going down.
A month from now this ice wouldn't rate a second look.

Needed a short break at the first false summit.

First view of the fire tower - still have to go down a small col.

Zoomed in from the same spot.

Supposedly you can see 43 of the 48 4K's from the Carrigain fire tower on a clear day.  The next 8 pictures are taken from the 4 sides and 4 corner rails of the tower on 8 compass points. How many 48's can you identify?  Note the absence of snow on all peaks. Just some visible on Washington near the Alpine line.






Carrigain summit pic. Wind picking up. 
Self portrait summit pic.

Carrigain marker

Interesting trunk

Ice sculpture - penguin?


Trail Map (from AMC guide-on-line):

Hike Profile from my GPS:  I left the track on while I drove from the trail head to Rt 302 to show what I saved by doing this now.  Notice you can even see the tower excursion on the peak.