uphillklimberSeptember 10, 2006 at 1:09 pmPost count: 11
Mt. Carrigan Trip Report, September 9, 2006
This trip begins On Friday Evening, the 8th of September. We are already packed and ready to go. We grab dinner and hit the road. We know there is traffic on the Spaulding Turnpike, so we take some back roads to get past the traffic. A few wrong turns and we finally make it to the Spaulding, ahead of the traffic jam. We get to the trailhead after 8 and it is dark already. So we don headlamps and venture in.
I have reviewed the backcountry camping rules online and just to make sure, I check the posted rules at the trailhead. Basically, there is no camping within 200 of the road and trailhead. So, as we are hiking in, I pace off the distance and we are well past 200 feet in and I see a likely plateau about 10 feet above the trail. I venture up, and then invite my wife to join me. We look around find a flat area, remove some twigs and set the tent, then reset the tent. The plan is to camp there for the night, break camp in the morning, don daypacks and hike up for the Flags on the 48 event. What I find concerning is that when we hiked in on Saturday, about a quarter mile in, we see a sign that tells us we are leaving a protected area. The sign on the other side says no camping from here to the road. Now, I am really confused about backcountry camping in the Whites.
At 6 in the morning, we break camp, scatter the twigs back over our tentsite, and head back to the truck. We cook breakfast on the tailgate and feed Suzy. As we are readjusting the packs for today’s trek, I decide not to use the daypack, as I am carrying a telescopic 16’ surveying pole that collapses down to 4’. My regular pack will carry this better. I also load in a couple of Ridgerests to stabilize it. The Ridgerests will also provide padding when we are sitting at the top. We are to meet up with Pedxing, at 8 AM, who is carrying the flag up to the peak. I have the pole, he has the flag.
There are many vehicles in the parking lot. Notably, there is a larger group, which is going up to hoist the flag also. This group includes a girl of about 11. More on them, later. About quarter of 8, my wife suggests that we get going. Pedxing is a fairly quick hiker, and we do not want to hold him back. We estimate it will take us about 4 hours to get to the top, the book says 4:10. We need to hoist the flag from noon until 2 PM. So we leave a note and head off.
As we ascend the trail, several pass us, each time we are hoping to see Pedxing. It is not until we are resting at the first viewpoint, some 3 ½ miles in that he catches up with us, with his dog Loki. He started hiking at 8:30. He made good time! We hike together for a while. When we stop to rest, he pushes on to the top, not wanting to be late.
As we travel, we come to a ridge with awesome views of nearby mountaintops and rockslides. Picture time!!! From there we can see the tower at the top of Carrigan. After a couple Three Musketeers bars, we continue on. Near the top, we see a couple backcountry sites, as well as a well. It looks a bit skanky, but I assume that if filtered or treated, it’d be fine. Incidentally, we find plenty of puddles for the dogs to drink from along the way.
When we get to the top, the first thing we do is take off our t-shirts and dry them out, while donning some fleece to fight back the breeze now that we are stopped. I grab the pole and two carabiners and head up the tower. The platform is full of people! The large group ahead of us is rigging a large flag to hang from the rail. Pedxing has the flag, I ask if he has duct tape. He has a whole roll! So we hook the carabiners on the flag and slide them over the top of the pole. We duct tape them to the top, then tape the pole to the corner of the platform. We brace the pole with a couple of Leki’s. Then we extend the pole up 16 feet. I am nervous that the now stiff breeze will break this surveying rod, so we lower it to about 10 feet, basically collapsing the pole so each section is half lapped over the next. That works well.
Now that both flags are in place, the girl who hiked up with the large group of people leads everyone on the tower in a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. I just don’t know what to say about it, but it was a very heart warming and patriotic moment. The weather looks ominous, with darker clouds passing by. After they eat, they fold up their flag and head back. We kinda feel like we should keep the flag up until close to 2 PM.
From noon until 2, there are others who come up and pictures are taken. We see a couple come up, with 3 dogs, one wearing a pack. It’s Abster, and she recognizes us right away. We hug and share introductions. It’s to make acquaintances again. She tells us of a group of ladies hiking up wearing pearls. They want to come up for the event. Jeannette decides to make an early start down the trail. Abster and Jeff leave behind her. Pedxing and I are waiting for the ladies with Pearls to arrive. On the ridge, we can see several folks having lunch, but they seem to wait there. We see Abster, Jeff and their dogs bounding along. We do not see my wife. I am a little concerned, but we have not been diligently watching the ridge. One lady has binoculars and we can see on flag on North Hancock. With the clouds, we can not see any other flags. Soon 3 of the 8 Ladies with Pearls arrive at the top. One is from Manhattan Island. Apparently, this is a yearly ritual with them. We do not inquire as much as we would like about their journey, not wishing to re-open old wounds. Sometimes, I wish I were a bit bolder. There was probably an interesting tale there they could have shared. Perhaps, I will hear more of them.
As 2 PM approaches, we decide to pack it in. We meet up with Jeannette at the first viewpoint where Pedxing caught up to us on the way up. We hike down together. The weather deteriorates, and about a mile from the trailhead, the skies open up. We are sweaty and hot, and the rain actually feels good. I had contemplated a quick rinsing in the stream when we got to the trailhead. No need for that now. This is a soaking rain, and we need to protect the cameras. Pedxing pushes on, while we cover the cameras. My wife dons her Gore-Tex. I wrap the cameras in my Gore-Tex in her pack. We double-time it back to the truck. The packs and dog get hefted into the back, and get up front and dry off. From there, it is into Conway for dinner and a long ride home. My wife and I discuss driving duties. She drives first, while power nap. Pedxing decides to ask his dog to drive for a bit. He has a longer ride home, and we are a bit concerned for him, but he is a trooper.
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