This was a very hard but enjoyable bushwack from Mt Carrigain with my grandson Kris.
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0630: Trailhead off Sawyer river Road
1200: Mt Carrigain via Carrigain Notch trail and Signal Ridge trail (5.5 hrs)
1530: Col between Carrigain & Vose Spur via downhill bushwhack (3.5 hrs)
1600: Vose Spur peak via uphill bushwack (0.5 hrs)
1800: Back on Carrigain Notch Trail via downhill bushwack (2.5hrs)
2030: Back at Trailhead via near level section of Carrigain Notch trail (2.5)
Total: 14 hr; 8 hrs on trail, 5 hrs of bushwack, 1 hr peak times & breaks.
We drove up from Rhode Island the night before and camped at the Jigger Johnson campground on tne Kancamagus. This was my last NEHH and my grandson Kris agreed to try another bushwhack with me. He had done "Peak above the Nubble" with me the month before. I kind of felt guilty about doing peaks on my list without helping him with his NH4k list lately so I decided to push for a much longer and harder hike to include Mt Carrigain for him. Most people hike Vose Spur by going in on Carrigain Notch trail and starting their bushwhack at a large boulder 4 miles down the trail and go up and back via a combination of bushwhacking and following herd-paths (mostly near the top). For those who want to add Carrigain you can continue the bushwhack from Vose to Carrigain then come back down via signal Ridge trail or do the reverse by starting with Carrigain. After considering advice from various websites I decided to do Carrigain first so that mostly all of my heavy bushwhacking would be downhill and gravity would help me push through the spruce. The risk would be that if I ran low on time that I may have to pass on Vose Spur. All in all everything went nearly to plan and we both had a hard but great day. No mishaps other than losing a trekking pole in the 1st 0.25 miles of the whack from Carrigain.
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Pictures of our track:
Bushwhack from Carrigain to Vose Spur to Carrigain Notch trail. Followed ridge down from Carrigain. dropped east before the lower peak avoiding some uphill whacking and down to the talus field just above the col. hit it to far north and followed it south before jumping back into the thick- See next pic
Satellite view from Carrigain (left). Hit north tip of 1st talus field. Followed field south then started whack up to Vose. Coming down entered 2nd talus field on top(north) and climbed down it. If we went SW from there we could have hit a third field and followed it down (maybe)
Pictures and the rest of the story:
Kris at the trailhead 0630 he chose to start out with long jeans that he would need for the bushwack. I started with shorts and changed to jeans and long sleeves when we reached Carrigain
First view of my main objective (Vose Spur) from Signal Rridge.
First good view of Carrigain from Signal ridge . We will be going down the right ridge from the tower on the bushwhack to Vose.
Zoom in of the towerf on Carrigain
Survey marker below the tower.
Kris on the tower. This is his 9th NH4K peak.
Fairley clear day with only Mt Washington in the clouds.
This is where we broke into the clearing after a tough bushwhack down from Carrigain. The plan was to break through at that large talus field left and above us, but we veered too far north. we started down the ridge from Carrigain is some very thick spruce (where I lost one pole) but shifted north and picked up some herd paths for a short while.
Looking back up toward Carrigain. This was a tough Bushwhack. We were able to follow a few faint herd-paths but mostly it was just plowing through the spruce.
From here we followed along the lower edge of the large talus field until we found a good area to start our next section bushwhack up to Vose.
Lots of perfectly ripened blueberries in this area just below the talus and back along the open area of Signal Ridge. Kind of small though - a lot of work to get a mouthful.
My final New England Hundred Highest peak. Now all I have left is half of my Winter New Hampshire 4K list. And No, I will not attempt the NEHH in the winter list, so this is the last time I'll ever be in this spot.
This is Kris's 11th NEHH, 9 NH4K + Peak above the Nubble + VOse
Kris chilling out on the Spur
The left ridge line in the background is Signal Ridge trail that we had taken up to Carrigain.
After the talus field, it was a fairly easy combination of herd-paths and spruce whacking then eventually following a ravine until it came out at Carrigain Notch trail near the big boulder where most people that whack up from the notch typically start their whack. My main objective of the day was to get back to the notch trail before dark. We made it with just an hour to spare. If at any point I had thought we wouldn't make it I would have passed on Vose Spur.
Signs at the junction of Signal Ridge and Carrigain Notch trails. - End of the loop
1.7 easy miles of easy (but muddy) trail back to the trailhead