A Trip to Mighty Carrigain
This was a day of great anticipation for my wife and me. Our day for Carrigian. The beauty of this mountain is that from no matter from what faraway vista you see it, it always leaves an impression. From so many vantages, there it sits. A massive, imposing, monolith of rock, easily recognized. It's like the North Star, ever present and unmistakeable. I always thought to myself that I couldn't wait to do it.
When you hike on a day like this one, which ironically was like every other day this week-cold, grey, rainy- there's no use wondering what the view will be like, because obviously, there is nothing to be seen. This was good however, as I knew we now had the opportunity to focus on the mountain itself. There was never a stretch of trail that made us feel as if we couldn't make it, maybe that's what allowed us to enjoy it so much. Some peaks tax so much out of you during ascent and descent that you can think of nothing more than when will it be over. Forasmuch as its worth, to me, Carrigain is a mountain of invitation. It requires you to do nothing more than show up, walk in, and enjoy yourself.
We started at 820am under aforementioned skies and had little difficulty with water crossings. There was no one else at the lot except a white van that looked like a group of some type, it was gone by the time we came down. The deep green of a sunless forest is a sight to behold. We covered the first two miles in forty minutes, slowing down with the hope of a sighting of beaver activity, or any type actually. Nothing there, even the birds were quiet. The almost mile long birch corridor is slowly being fringed with spruce and is quite attractive. As we neared the crest of Signal Ridge we were paced by an older couple. We side-stepped to let them pass and enjoyed mountain cranberries and blueberries as a generous award for civil trail behavior.
As we approached the site of the former warden's cabin we caught up with them again. They asked if we had done Carrigain before. We told them this was our first time. This led to, what seemed logical to them at least, the next question, did we know then, how much farther to the top? I could only guess based on the description from the book how much farther and longer. They said they didn't feel like they could make it any longer. I turned out to be right, it was less than 15 minutes. They never showed up at the top, and that was real unfortunate. There was nothing to see, but it was fun anyway. We made the top at 1120am, then took our time going down to stop, observe, and enjoy.
At this point we released our young companion who was hiking with both of us, and he raced down the trail. Later we encountered a large group of girls his age, a school group of some type, that were ascending and we could only imagine the gauntlet of catcalls he received. When we were down we backhauled up 302 to Jefferson Notch Road to return to Moose Brook, stopping for the best chocolate moose tracks ice cream (with waffle cone) at the Willey House.
In conclusion, Carrigain is indeed vast, but not mysterious, imposing, but not unfriendly. Its like your big brother. You see it a lot, its bigger than you, and your pretty sure it can beat you up if it wants to. But the more time you spend with it, observe and appreciate it, the better you get along, and your impression changes.
Carrigain doesn't ask much. You don't have to dress fancy, bring anything, or even be on time. But I can't wait for the next time it calls, maybe its even an open invitation of sorts, and I know we'll be there.
There aren't many pics because it (of course) was raining, but here they are.