Brutal Day Breaking Trail, Just the Way I Like It . . . Mount Carrigain

Date of Hike: 2/18/17

Sawyer River Road: 2.0 miles  /  Signal Ridge Trail: 10 miles  /  Sawyer River Road: 2.0 miles
Total Miles: 14.0 (4,500 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- I wanted to break some trail on Saturday, and boy did I get my wish!  When I arrived at the parking lot at the end of Sawyer River Road there was only one car there, I thought surely there would be other people hiking Mount Carrigain as it was such a beautiful day, and there was, exactly one other!
- I ran into him along the flats of the Signal Ridge Trail just past the old Carrigain Notch Trail junction on the abandoned Pre-Irene stretch.  I thanked him for breaking out the first section and scooted on ahead.
- From here the trail starts to gain elevation and eventually becomes steep as it traverses along a side hill that gets drifted in.  This stretch was very slow, one to two feet of snow with drifts up to four feet deep, needless to say it was very tiring.  After this the steepness levels off but the snow depth kept increasing, every step was now through two feet of heavy wet snow with higher drifts.  With temperatures in the high thirties I got what is called a free car wash from the pine branches that are usually above the trail but now chest and face high because of the significant snow depths, I was drenched!
-  Signal Ridge Trail is known for its switchbacks before popping out on Signal Ridge, having been on this trail over a dozen times I usually know how many there are but today I forgot the last one, and it felt like a punch in the gut as I was exhausted, it was demoralizing.
- Eventually I made it to Signal Ridge and was pumped, from here on out I figured it would be easier hiking once dropping back into the woods and circling on up to the summit tower, well I couldn't have been more wrong.  The last half mile was beyond brutal, every step felt like sinking into freshly mixed concrete, and to make things worse my knee injury from MMD 50K came back out of nowhere,  what usually takes ten minutes took forty...but I made it!
- I wobbled up the tower snapped a few pics and started back down, my knee hurt but wasn't getting any worse so I made good time getting back below the free car wash section where I was finally able to put dry layers on without getting drenched again.  The hike out was relatively uneventful and went much better than expected, with the exception of sinking in a little bit with each step since it was so warm out and the snow was too soft, it still felt like a mini trail break, luckily it was flat and slightly downhill.
- Once I hit Sawyer River Road I enjoyed the packed out two miles of snow from the snowmobiles and shuffled my way back to the car.
- It had been a few years since I experienced a hike in snow depths like this and I loved every second of it!

 Signal Ridge Trailhead, one more dump and this sign will almost be buried

Following the tracks left by the nice hiker who broke out the flats, thanks you!


Doesn't look bad but every step through here you'd sink down two feet!

More rough stuff!

Leaving my tracks

 Finally, Signal Ridge

Vose Spur

Carrigian Notch and Mount Lowell

Summit is in sight, so close yet so far

Signal Ridge and Mount Carrigain's summit

The tower, no more breaking trail!!!!

Signal Ridge, AKA Burnt Hat Ridge

Presi's in vivid white off in the distance

Pemi Wilderness

 Hancock Range

Hiking back across Signal Ridge

Back through the mornings tracks

Almost back to the flats of the Signal Ridge Trail

Old section of the Signal Ridge Trail

Sun slowly fading away

The home stretch

1 comment:

  1. I would only have made it half way up, sat down, taken a nap, then turn around! Sounds exhausting, job well down!