First Overnight on Mt. Carrigain
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
"Life itself is a privilege, but to live life to the fullest - well, that is a choice." - Andy Andrews
We’ve been wanting to do an overnight hike for some time now, but never got around to it. Part of me thinks I was putting it off because it was new and unknown and wasn’t sure if I was ready. I decided to finally go for it. My sons birthday came around and as his gift I gave him this trip. He was super excited and so was I plus a little nervous. The white mountains are not something to mess with. The weather can change in a instant and I didn’t want to be caught unprepared.
The hike up was pretty strenuous. Mostly because we were carrying a lot of extra weight we weren’t use too. Sleeping bags, extra water and a tent. It took us most of the day to hike just 5 miles. If I plan on hiking the Appalachian Trail in the future I’ve decided I better get into some serious shape and train a lot! It was hot out which didn’t help us in carrying our heavy packs. I was worried we might run out of water so I consumed less than what I probably should have but still managed to stay hydrated.
We reached the top..finally! I was happy to discover that there were legal tent sites just shy of the fire tower. When I first planned this trip I wasn’t sure where we were going to set up camp, but was told that we would be able to find a place for our tent. Once we set up our tent and filled our bellies with some warm food (I used my JetBoil system and dehydrated meals) we headed on up to the fire tower. We made it just in time for sunset. It was a beautiful end to our long day.
As night fell we grabbed our sleeping bags and made our way back up to the fire tower. We layed out under the stars and watched shooting stars and satellites roam the night sky. The stars became clear and crisper as it got later. The Milky Way was the most spectacular I have seen. We were warm despite the strong cool wind whipping around the tower. We could have slept right there on the tower, but decided to head back to our tent and get some sleep.
When we woke the next morning the wind was whipping even stronger than it was the night before. Even though we were in the tree line it was cold and extremely windy. We grabbed our sleeping bags once again and headed back to the fire tower. It was about 5:15 am and the sun was just starting to come up. Watching the sun come up over the horizon was just breathtaking. I have never seen a sunrise more beautiful. We sat at the fire tower in awe for about an hour before making our way back down to the tent site. We made breakfast quickly and enjoyed our warm meal then decided to go ahead and start our trek back down the mountain.
Packing up our tent was very difficult. Packing up tents and sleeping bags can be hard enough but the wind made it impossible. I gave up on trying to get my tent small enough to fit back in the pack and decided to just make it good enough to fit on my pack. After a little bit of a struggle packing up our gear we were headed back down the mountain. Just 50 ft. past our tent site the wind decreased significantly and the deafening sound was no longer bombarding our ears.
The rest of the trek back down was a blur. We were tired, sweaty and dirty but at the same time felt incredibly good. By the last mile of the trail our feet barley made it off the ground and every foot felt like 20. We reached the car and it was bitter sweet. Our weekend on the mountain is one we will never forget and a memory I will cherish forever.
Location: Livermore, N.H. near Lincoln. Pemigewasset Wilderness
Distance: 10.4 miles out and back (Signal Ridge Trail)
Rating: Moderate -Hard
Elevation Gain: 3,369 ft.
Elevation: 4,700 ft.
Tent Sites: Yes near fire tower
In 1940 20 ft. steel fire tower was built on summit and then in 1948 fire tower placed as inactive.