Parade Flag on Signal Ridge
Mount Carrigain 4700'
Sawyer River Road and Signal Ridge Trail
14 miles 3800' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy, Emma and a cast of thousands!
It is well documented that Rte. 302 at the Sawyer River Bridge was washed out during Hurricane Irene. Along with that there is a a section of Sawyer River Road, probably at least 100 yds. that washed out as well. It left a hole 15-20' deep and took the entire width of the road with it as it deposited large trees and stones in its place. Along the trail there were many smaller washouts as well, especially along Whiteface Brook. Because of these changes in the route it was necessary to turn this normal 10 mile summer hike into a 14 mile hike, similar to the normal winter route in that it included 4 extra miles round trip of road walk along the impassable Sawyer River Road. In places, especially down low along Whiteface Brook, the rushing water from the torrential rains had scoured the trail and left a rocky tread-way, sometimes difficult to negotiate, in its stead.
Washed out Sawyer River Road
This aside, a group of 12 people and 5 dogs made the long trek up the steep slopes of Carrigain to honor those who fell at the hands of evil exactly 10 years before, and to those who have fallen since to protect us from this evil lest it strike again. What is truly amazing is the dedication by all those involved to follow through with this event each year, to make this hike on this day to each of New Hampshire's 48 4k summits to commemorate this awful day in our history and to honor the innocents who lost their lives for being nothing more than what we all are, Americans. We are truly blessed to share this distinction, and the hands of evil can never take this from us, even in death.
On Signal Ridge
I hesitated at this writing, not really sure what I wanted to do. Whether to make my own trip report, or to just add my pictures to an already excellent thread started by those in my group. In the end I decided to start my own, hopefully not through vanity, but through a kinship with those who hike the mountains I love, and through a fellowship with those who have participated in this event maybe for the first time this year, or maybe every year since its inception. One thing is certain, we all stood on our chosen mountaintops this day as brethren to give honor to those who departed this world too soon and left us to carry the flame that future generations should know the fallen had not died in vain.
Raising "Old Glory"
Each of us knows exactly where we were and what we were doing on that day, and each of us can tell a story of how this day struck them and how it has affected their lives. I would like to share mine: It was a wonderful, then terrible, then more terrible week leading into September 11, 2001. On September 5th my wonderful granddaughter came into this world. With all the hopes and dreams I had for her little did I know that things would soon happen to change the course of history and change the world as we know it forever. As high as I was having cradled my first grandchild in my arms, I was soon to be cast into the depths of despair.
Flying High on Carrigain
On September seventh I got a phone call. My oldest son had been in an accident on his motorcycle. His best friend was standing next to him on the side of the road about 3 miles from our house. I arrived on the scene at almost the same instance the the volunteer paramedic arrived. I knew my son was in grave trouble if he wasn't attended to quickly. Along with several broken bones he could not exhale. Each breath he took increased his pain. In a dreamlike state I waited as the ambulance arrived and more people attended to him. Having been on a rescue crew in the Air Force many years prior I knew that each second counted as it passed, seemingly in slow motion.
A Soft Place to Rest
I waited as they put him in the ambulance, then I waited some more. It seemed forever as they frantically worked to save his life by opening a hole in his chest to release the trapped air in his lung. I watched through the closed doors of the ambulance, shaking in disbelief. As time passed minutes seemed like hours. When at last he was finally stabilized at the hospital they told me he would need a medi-vac to Mass. General in Boston. I shook some more. They prepared him for the flight, then they let me see him. The transport crew told me to kiss him for good luck, then they rushed him outside to the waiting chopper. I stood in the parking lot as it rose from the ground. I never felt so weak and helpless in all my life. My legs buckled and I crumpled to my knees, half in prayer and half in despair.