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Thread: Mt. Carrigain and Vose Spur

  1. #1
    Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Mt. Carrigain and Vose Spur

    Last Friday after hiking Whiteface and Passaconaway (see previous thread) I drove over to the Mt. Carrigain trailhead to complete my second round of the 4000 Footers. I decided to hike a few miles in and set up my hammock and then ascend Carrigain in the morning. It's always nice to start hikes later in the day - there's parking available in the actual lot and the people you meet are going in the other direction. Foliage was past peak but the first few miles of the Signal Ridge Trail involve many a birch tree and their leaves were popping with yellow. The low or non-existent rivers indicated it was very much still drought conditions.

    I wasn't sure where I would be camping so I hiked about three miles until I reached the point where the trail begins to climb in earnest. I figured that would be my last chance for birch forest hanging so I ventured off trail to look for a spot. I discovered an old site with a wood stove nearby. A cool artifact. Someone had taken the top off and used it for the back of a firepit. I would have been nice to have a little fire there but it was too dry for that. I ended up having to move my hammock because of a suspect branch but I found a lovely grove next door and hung there.

    I'm still a novice hammock camper so I slept fitfully - mostly due to not being warm enough. I have visions of hammock camping in the winter but I'll definitely need to upgrade my gear for that.

    Woke up at 4:30, packed up in the dark and was on the trail by 5:20. Took me a few minutes to locate Signal Ridge again and soon I was sweating as the climbing began. I passed a "day" hiker around the ledges and continued on to the tower. The fellow indicated he was stopping for breakfast and so I had the summit to myself for 30 minutes - a fortunate treat and wonderful to enjoy the morning as I finished Round 2. Temps were in the 50s with moderate gusts and eventually I cooled down enough and knew it was time to move on.

    I then preceded down the Desolation Trail which was new to me. Oof - that's a steep one. At the bottom though you're rewarded with a mile section of the Carrigain Notch trail that is just flat and divine. A lovely woods walk. Soon I discovered that my clogs had fallen off the back of my pack. An embarrassing mistake and I feel bad that they are out there somewhere.

    I had wanted to hike Vose Spur as well but wasn't sure if I'd be able to find the herd path. My navigation skills aren't great so I wasn't confident about doing it without that assistance. I figured I missed it and was all right with that until I caught sight of it. I was a tough hike up - very steep - but the path was fairly easy to follow for the most part and the views from the Talus Field were splendid. It took about two hours or so to make the round trip and I was beat by the time I returned to the Carrigain Notch Trail. The rest of the hike was easy walking and I was happy to get back to my car.

    I really enjoyed this overnight and especially enjoyed the Carrigain Notch Trail. Would love to do it again maybe incorporating a different loop using Nancy Pond. Below you will find my video of this trip. Let me know what you think!


  2. #2
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Enjoyed the video Rhody. Carrigain (notice how it is spelled wrong on many signs?) has always been my favorite 4K and was my first...a long time ago. Watched the sunrise a couple of times from the lookout cabin atop the tower back when it was still there. Desolation Trail is really something. First time I did Carrigain, we went up that way with full packs...I was a teen so it was fun. Especially enjoyed the video of Vose Spur.

  3. #3
    Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Thanks maineguy. It was fun. Looking forward to future hammock trips to more remote locations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    Enjoyed the video Rhody. Carrigain (notice how it is spelled wrong on many signs?) has always been my favorite 4K and was my first...a long time ago. Watched the sunrise a couple of times from the lookout cabin atop the tower back when it was still there. Desolation Trail is really something. First time I did Carrigain, we went up that way with full packs...I was a teen so it was fun. Especially enjoyed the video of Vose Spur.
    The FS recently replaced all the signs in the Stillwater/Desolation/Carrigain area and couldn't even bother to get the spelling consistent. The sign at Stillwater is the only one with 2 i's.

  5. #5
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    The FS recently replaced all the signs in the Stillwater/Desolation/Carrigain area and couldn't even bother to get the spelling consistent. The sign at Stillwater is the only one with 2 i's.
    A few years ago I had a guy make a copy of the sign for Signal Ridge Trail that is on Sawyer River Road. He made a remarkable duplicate that I have on the wall in my den. However, I had him spell it correctly.

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