I intended to go home early today, to unpack and clean up and generally catch up from two weeks away. Then Chuckles suggested climbing Carrigain so of course, I was in. It was practically on the way home!
I met Chuckles, Spoon, and Kyle at the Signal Ridge Trailhead on Sawyer River Road, which was just recently fixed and reopened after last fall’s storm. We started up the Signal Ridge Trail and kept a quick pace for the almost flat first two+ miles. After the junction with the Carrigain Notch Trail, the trail began to climb more steeply.
I didn’t last very long before needing a water break since it was 85° out. I thought I’d gained some speed in my two weeks of hiking in Maine, but I don’t do well in the heat. After some water and a snack, we started climbing more slowly. Chuckles and Kyle sped off ahead while Spoon and I slowly suffered our way up. Well-meaning hikers coming downhill said it wasn’t that far away, but each switchback just revealed more trail. We finally made it up to the ridge, only to discover the summit was even farther away. But it was an easier hike across the ridge and we enjoyed some views on the way to the final uphill to the summit.
We made it to the tower, climbed up, and collapsed on the platform, commiserating with the other hikers there about the heat. Lunch and more water perked me up some and I finally stood to check out the 360° views. Located at the lower edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, you can see so many cool mountains from Mount Carrigain’s summit at 4700′, most of which I’ve climbed already.
After a very long lunch break, we headed back down the tower and the trail, stopping to check out a few campsites. There’s a small campsite right at the summit, even more camping spaces just below it, and a well a little farther down for water, so this would be a cool mountain to come back to for an overnight sometime.
The hike down went much more quickly, even with a stop at a swimming hole in Whiteface Brook for a quick, frigid dip before we reached the trailhead. 10.6 miles and 3400′ of elevation gain is more than I would normally choose on a hot day, but it sure was beautiful.