View Full Version : Cardigan Provides the Cure for AMD - 1-17-2010

01-19-2010, 09:17 PM
It had only been 10 weeks since our last trip north but it somehow felt like 10 years. Clearly we were suffering from AMD (Acute Mountain Deprivation). Happily we were able to find a cure this weekend.

We left the house at 6:00 Sunday morning and had clear sailing all the way up. We pulled into the parking lot at Cardigan Lodge at 9:00 and were raring to go. The day was cloudy and the forecast called for wind (is it ever not windy on Cardigan) but at that point there wasn't a breath of air moving. We had to skip the summit when we were at Cardigan last January since we didn't have traction but this time we were prepared with our new microspikes which we were dying to put to the test.

The trails were all well packed (no surprise) and were perfectly fine for either bare booting (at least until the ledges) or traction all the way. We headed up the Manning trail to Firescrew. The temperatures were perfect and we had (of course) overdressed. After several stops in the first 1/2 hour we were down to just base layers and light fleeces. Even with no new snow in a couple of weeks the trees were still coated and the hike up the Manning was very pretty. When we got to the first ledges (where we had to turn back last year) the microspikes got their first test. Perfect - these things stick like glue!

At the top of Firescrew it got a bit windy but not uncomfortable. We headed across the Mowglis to Cardigan and enjoyed the views. The last set of ledges up to Cardigan summit were the toughest spot of the day. Steep and very icy with just enough coating of snow to make them tricky. We got up fine as did the group of 8 behind us who were all bare booting (I have no idea how they made it though). The wind picked up as we got to the summit and we shared a spot behind the base of the tower with the other folks on the summit and had lunch.

Since it was still early we decided to head over Orange Mt on the way back. We headed down the West Ridge trail as everyone else on the summit headed down Clark. It was a bit nerve wracking at first going downhill on the icy ledges but the traction worked great and we were soon comfortable again. As we were approaching the junction of the Skyland trail we met a couple coming back from that way who told us that it was unbroken and that they hadn't been able to find blazes to follow it. We decided to give it a shot anyway. We switched to snowshoes and headed in. After a few hundred yards we found where they had veered left just before turning around and to me it appeared that the trail went straight. Turned out that straight was correct and even without blazes the trail was pretty easy to follow. The blazes finally started again right before the Rimrock junction. Looking ahead we could see that Skyland wasn't broken leaving the junction and probably the whole way to Orange Mt. I knew from BarkingCat's post a couple of days ago that it was broken from Orange to the lodge but with a long day ahead for tomorrow we decided to just head back down the Clark. So back up to the South Summit, across to Clark and down to Cathedral Forest and Holt back to the lodge. Kept the snowshoes on the rest of the way down even though we really didn't need them. Overall a really nice hike.

This great day of winter fun provided an almost complete cure for our AMD. We finished off the day with a wonderful dinner and hanging out with our friends Tim and Val who graciously hosted us this weekend. We spent the evening scheming our Monday mountain plans and the remainder of our cure. But that's another story...

A few pics of the day below - full album here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/Cardigan11710#

First views of Cardigan from the Firescrew ledges

Frozen "weeping" boulder

Still good views even with the clouds

Nat on the icy Firescrew summit

Cardigan summit ahead

Frosty on top

Happy to be back on a mountain. Photo courtesy of South Summit cairn "tripod"

Anna LeBlanc
01-19-2010, 10:10 PM
Great TR and pictures Mark.You guys always look so happy when you hike together.

Cardigan is one of our favorite Summer hikes so thanks for showing us what it looks like in the Winter too.



01-20-2010, 07:33 AM
Great T/R and pictures. I was wondering how you guys were going to do on the ledges with the ice. I know I was nervous when I went a couple years ago and they were only wet and I was slipping. Glad the Microspikes worked. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Snow Miser
01-20-2010, 12:29 PM
Another great TR and set of photos. Like Chris said, the two of you always look so happy hiking together.:) Thanks again for sharing your hike.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
01-20-2010, 08:29 PM
Great job on the report and pictures. AMD? It's good that there is a cure for it cause I think we are coming down with a severe case.:D
Good thinking on your part to avoid the trail breaking to save energy for your next days venture.


01-22-2010, 07:42 AM
Thanks for the comments all. Donna - glad to have been able to help you with the diagnosis of your AMD. Hopefully a cure is coming for you soon. Perhaps a campaign to deal with this disease is in order. "Curing AMD one step at a time"

Oh, and the reason that Nat and I always look so happy when we're hiking together - is because we always are!