Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mrs. Rants and I took advantage of the warm Saturday and went for a hike up Mt. Cardigan. The drive to the mountain was a minor ordeal. All but the major roads are riddled with potholes and frost heaves. I scraped the undercarriage a few times and the last few miles to the trailhead was on a muddy dirt road that was pretty rutted.

We parked at the Caridgan Mountain AMC lodge parking lot and shared the area with a pack of excited dogs waiting for their owners to quit wasting time checking their packs and equipment (lets hike already!). We ascended the Manning Trail which was pretty easy going for the most part. The lower trail was slushy with decent footing and as we ascended we got into icier spots that required more care (neither of us own crampons). The ledgy, rocky summit of Mt. Cardigan loomed up ahead; sunlight sparkling off of pockets of snow. The Manning trail takes an indirect route to Cardigan - you have to summit Mt. Firescrew first (so named due to an intense forest fire decades ago where witnesses saw cyclones of smoke swirling from the engulfed peak). Footing became treacherous as steepness increased. We had to go off-trail several times to avoid stretches of sheer ice. At last we broke out from the forest onto the first few open ledges. The wind was pretty strong but the views were good. A great feature of Mt. Cardigan is that it is situated away from the bigger peaks of the White Mountains. The benefit of being removed from those peaks when climbing Cardigan is that you get a chance to see the range in its entirety. You see all the various subranges in relation to each other - a view you don't often get when hiking directly in the Whites (where neighboring peaks can sometimes block you from taking in the long view).

After the first ledge we pushed further on. The trail dipped back into the woods where significant snow and ice had to be contended with. It became apparent that to continue any further (safely) required equipment we did not have. We really didn't want to slip and fall for the sake of going further, so we accepted the fact that our first view would also be our last. Not a big deal. It was great to be out in the woods again and with Spring dropping hints of its imminence we figured we got what we came for and more will be available in a few more months. Posted by Picasa


At 12:26 PM, Blogger carpoolguy said...

Mount Firescrew. Sounds like the name of a post-apocalyptic punk act. Or maybe a ska band, like Save Ferris. It looked like a beautiful hike, even if a bit treacherous. Thanks for the pix.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger YouWho said...

Next weekend, Mount Sweatervest!


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