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Thread: Old Trails and Routes on Mount Cardigan

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Old Trails and Routes on Mount Cardigan

    I hiked Mount Cardigan via the West Ridge Trail yesterday. Seemed like there were a lot more old trails and routings along this route than you usually find out in the woods, even on a popular mountain. I wonder if anyone here has made it a project to explore some or all of these trails. Seemed like this would be a fun mountain for that - take in all the current routings, but also get out on the side trails and abandoned routes for a look-see. Anyone here who's done that? Any good blogs for this? Thanks in advance.
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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    Craig Sanborn would be a person who could answer your questions. He goes by Creag Nan Drochaid on this forum. He has been working on those trails on Cardigan and elsewhere for many, many years and is also in charge of the Cardigan Highlanders Volunteer Trail Crew.
    NHGRID; WNH48; NE67; LT NB 2013; AT NOBO 2015, MSGT 2016, PCT 2017/18, JMT 2016/17/19
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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summerset View Post
    Craig Sanborn would be a person who could answer your questions. He goes by Creag Nan Drochaid on this forum. He has been working on those trails on Cardigan and elsewhere for many, many years and is also in charge of the Cardigan Highlanders Volunteer Trail Crew.
    Ooh, cool. Thanks for the reference, Summerset.
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Among a lot of others, I believe I've done all the trails. I've also gotten lost and was scared I'd get "be-nighted" but didn't The place is a gem and freaking huge. Many more ledges than any trails would ever go to!!!! Also some old features on old trail maps. It's pretty tough to get bored there!!!!
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    Among a lot of others, I believe I've done all the trails. I've also gotten lost and was scared I'd get "be-nighted" but didn't The place is a gem and freaking huge. Many more ledges than any trails would ever go to!!!! Also some old features on old trail maps. It's pretty tough to get bored there!!!!
    Thanks, Becca. Is there a good place online to scour old trail maps? I'm salivating at the prospect.
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    the UNH topos (I forget the link - just google it) & historicaerials.com are good.
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    1867 carriage road starts by toilet building just beyond parking lot for West Ridge Trail. Some of it is overlaid by West Ridge Trail, some is not. It climbs in wide loops to have a grade horses can tolerate. In a couple of places the district ranger and I had to decide which of two routes should be the trail on June 21 1985, but over 95% of the road is just as it was left when West Ridge Trail was built by the CCC company from Danbury and Clyde Smith in the late 1930s, IIRC. Probably the only remaining artifact from the road is some corduroy on the present trail near the well.

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creag Nan Drochaid View Post
    1867 carriage road starts by toilet building just beyond parking lot for West Ridge Trail. Some of it is overlaid by West Ridge Trail, some is not. It climbs in wide loops to have a grade horses can tolerate. In a couple of places the district ranger and I had to decide which of two routes should be the trail on June 21 1985, but over 95% of the road is just as it was left when West Ridge Trail was built by the CCC company from Danbury and Clyde Smith in the late 1930s, IIRC. Probably the only remaining artifact from the road is some corduroy on the present trail near the well.
    Thanks for sharing your story, Craig. I'd guess zigs and zags of the old road account for many of the "side trails" I saw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    the UNH topos (I forget the link - just google it) & historicaerials.com are good.
    Have long enjoyed the UNH topos. Such a great resource!
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creag Nan Drochaid View Post
    1867 carriage road starts by toilet building just beyond parking lot for West Ridge Trail. Some of it is overlaid by West Ridge Trail, some is not. It climbs in wide loops to have a grade horses can tolerate. In a couple of places the district ranger and I had to decide which of two routes should be the trail on June 21 1985, but over 95% of the road is just as it was left when West Ridge Trail was built by the CCC company from Danbury and Clyde Smith in the late 1930s, IIRC. Probably the only remaining artifact from the road is some corduroy on the present trail near the well.
    I am guessing the carriage road became the jeep access road for the firetower?
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Cardigan is an absolutely gem for poking around, exploring, and wandering. And every season reveals new treasures. You can explore for a long time and never get bored on Cardigan!
    "People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation."
    --Soren Kierkegaard, 1838

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    Aye, Becca.

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknblue View Post
    Cardigan is an absolutely gem for poking around, exploring, and wandering. And every season reveals new treasures. You can explore for a long time and never get bored on Cardigan!
    We have a beloved mountain like that in CT called Sleeping Giant. Small in stature, but varied terrain with lots of beautiful rock formations. Over 30 miles of trails - I've hiked all but a mile or so. Rewards multiple visits. I look forward to getting back to Cardigan for some more poking around. Probably won't be fooling with the 4Ks this winter, so some 3K and fifty-finest visits will be in order - Belknap, Shaw, some others.
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

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