Sunday, August 20, 2006

48 on High

Our summer began with the end of The List in reach. We knocked off Mt. Isolation by doing an early summer overnight into the hard to access area. (I must remember to blog about that one because the trip was awesome and our campsite above treeline on top of Mt. Davis gave us excellent views of the Southern Presidentials as well as some worries watching ever present clouds roll in - which never materialized into anything nastier much to our relief). Later on we took down Owlshead, described in stunning and vibrant detail here. A few weeks later we bagged the innocuous, yet surprisingly interesting Galehead Mtn. which then brought ourselves to the doorstep of completion of our goal. Mt Carrigain was all that remained to be climbed.

I had saved this peak for last. The mountain has the distinction of being tied with Mt. Washington for the ability to see the most other official NH 4000' mountains from its summit. Also, Mt. Carrigain occupies a unique position within the White Mountains - providing views into the Pemigewasset Wilderness not duplicated from previous hikes to other summits. The day was nice and dry, yet cool and windy. The trail followed an old logging road - one of the many that still remain long after the days of JE Henry's logging operations folded up. The Signal Ridge Trail attains elevation at a steady and constant rate. We've hiked so much this summer that our lungs, stamina, and legs power us up the mountain with barely the need for breaks to catch our breath. After a series of switchbacks, the trail breaks out onto the wide open Signal Ridge with wild views of Vose Spur and the slide scarred slopes of Mt. Lowell. We powered on to the summit viewing platform (utilizing the remains of a once manned fire lookout) where broad views extended 360 degrees all around.

We didn't get too much of an opportunity to linger. The winds were brisk and the temperatures cold. To be honest, the completion was anticlimactic. The end of The List is the end of a journey. Where to now? Maine's 4000's - only 14 of them. How about Vermont's measly 5 summits of 4000'? No doubt we'll have to drive longer distances to seek out these goals. We will do so.

Where there is a trail, there is a reason. Perhaps we will begin the List again?


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