Signal Ridge of the fire tower on Carrigain”
the days feeling more and more like winter, it is hard to pass up a mid to high
40’s day. I decided to continue my trend of 4,000 footers before the New Year
is upon us.
I was going through the various maps, books, and online resources, I eventually
decided that I had to do Mount Carrigain. I was reading through the U.S.Forest Service road closure website and saw that Bear Notch Road was closed,
but Sawyer River Road was open. If I wanted to get this peak bagged I had to do
it now before they closed the road for the winter.
driving down Sawyer River Road is a treat in itself with the old cellar holes
on either side of the street. This area of the White Mountain National Forest is filled with deep history of the old logging railroads and towns, which offers a different perspective to the hiking trails we all use today.
“The flats of
the Signal Ridge Trail”
was only one other car in the parking lot when I arrived at the trail head,
which was about right with what I have been experiencing with mid-week hikes
this part of the year. I really enjoy hiking when there are only a few people as it offers an escape from the busy center of town. As I followed the twisting trail through the forest I noticed how
little snow and ice buildup there were. It was not until after the 1.7 miles
of hiking into Signal Ridge that I began ascending slightly and the ice and snow started to show
itself. Signal Ridge is a very popular trail not only because it leads to a
4,000 footer, but because of the views one acquires on the ridge itself. This turned the small amount of snow on the trail to ice and made not wearing extra traction a little challenging. I definitely recommend light traction for all hiking at this point!!!
“Two miles into
you continue the ascent, you receive glimpses of the nearby peaks that surround you. This gives you that extra push to continue climbing to get a better view. When you feel like you've had enough, the trees decide to part ways and open up to
the ridge line. There is nothing in the world that I would trade to be above
tree line on a crystal clear day. Here you can see Carrigain
with the fire tower right in front of you!
“ View from
you reach the fire tower with no one around and a slight breeze you can really
take in everything you just accomplished.
back down Carrigain on Signal Ridge with the ice buildup was a bit
trickier than what I had wished. However, slowing everything down you begin
to see everything you missed hiking up rushing to get to the top. I was
able to see a few openings in the trees that gave beautiful views of snow
covered peaks in the distance and interesting ice melts on the rock slabs nearby.
I reached the intersection for Signal Ridge and Carrgain Notch, it was nothing
but flat ground back to the parking lot. This allowed me to pack up the
poles and enjoy the walk in the woods.
"Panoramic view from the fire tower"
As always you can check AMC conditions for the
latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our
windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
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Backcountry Information Specialist
Labels: 4000 foot peaks, hike safe, Hiking, New Hampshire, White Mountains