Mt. Carrigain Overnight - February 26-27, 2023

Rhody Seth

Dec 18, 2015
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Charlestown, RI
A few weekends ago I had a fantastic backpacking trip up Mt. Carrigain with my usual cohorts, marred only by a late night headache/stomach issue. Despite that, it was great to get back out into it. I met the guys at the Sawyer River Road Trailhead around 7:30 AM on a cold Sunday morn. A couple cars had been there from the previous day - Sawyer Pond camping perhaps? And a solo woman arrived and began hiking while I waited for my friends.

The morning miles went by quickly thanks to good conversation and soon enough we were 4.5 mile in (including the two road miles). The steeps were about to begin and we decided to make camp at this point. Filled with machismo, originally we planned to camp at the summit but with strong winds forecast for the night all of us were happy to set up basecamp and lighten our loads before ascending. A fairly good snow began falling as we set up camp and I must say it was a nice change to get camp situated early in the day rather than at the end of a grueling slog.

It felt like a long climb up to Signal Ridge. I suspect they added another mile of trail since the last time I was there. 😆 The lady who started early in the day passed us going back and another fellow passed us on the way up but that was all we saw. Finally we reached the ridge which provided a nice taste of winter conditions with snowfall but little wind. We arrived at the summit, glad in our decision to have camped down below, and spent a few minutes on the firetower before the cold winds sent us packing.

Back at camp by 2:30 or so, we mulled the idea of getting a fire going but ultimately stuck to our stoves for warm drink. It was nice hanging out at camp for a couple hours, enjoying the company and battling the cold. Once darkness set in we all retired. I had hauled a lot of insulation on this trip, more than I needed really, but I was determined to be warm and comfortable. And so I was. I slept soundly right away but woke up around midnight to pee. Unfortunately I had a headache and a bit of nausea. Not sure what brought this one but it made for a miserable rest of the night. On the bright side, those quilts kept me warm until the predawn hours and I didn't have any leg cramps to speak of on this trip.

Despite the poor night's sleep, it was a great trip. We trekked out over about four inches of fresh powder, the sun was shining down through the snow covered trees and we had a Hiker Ed sighting just before we hit Sawyer River Road. This was my 35th peak for the Winter 48.