Start (approx.): 6:18 am Camp (approx.): 11:24 pm
4000 footers climbed: Whiteface (7:05 am), Passaconaway (9:15 am), Carrigain (8:45 pm)
Miles hiked: 24.8
In the morning it’s an easy hike up to Whiteface, I’m regretting not pushing on last night. This section is not confusing at all. On the way to Passsaconaway I have some peek a boo views of a glorious undercast and am trying to get some pictures but the sun glare is making it difficult. I scoop up some water near the first summit trail junction and continue on to the next. It’s .7 of up and I’m cursing my leg once again. I’m excited to get to the first view point however and while I’m stretching I’m enjoying the awesome view. I have the Monkey’s in my dress again and the camera on my wrist and continue on to the actual summit. A sweet doggie walks up to me and the owner soon follows. I blab excitedly about the view on the other side and when I go back down I stop and admire it again. The other hiker doesn’t catch up and I wonder if she’s thinking I’m a crazy person who has to be avoided. ; )
The hike down the Passaconaway cut off and Oliverian Brook trail goes smoothly. At the trailhead I take advantage of the sun and dry out my slightly damp sleeping bag. I also allow myself a good lunch break.
A quarter mile of road walking gets me to the easy Sawyer Pond trail. I take my shoes off for the ford near the trailhead since they’re nice and dry and I want to keep them that way. It’s a little chilly fording barefoot but it’s totally worth it. A small group of older backpackers is getting ready to cross back to the other side. They have crocs for fording. Nice! I point them towards the safest spot to ford and off they go. It’s knee deep but very slow moving better than the spot they were looking at earlier.
It’s getting a big muggy and I find a radio station to listen to and keep me going. I’m happy to find a small stream to wet my face and arms. At least that cools me off for a little bit. I’m dragging and it’s such easy trail. Ugh!
At Sawyer pond I enjoy the vista and there is a cool bird sunning it’s wings. The mile and a half to the road is super easy and then it’s off to Carrigain. I’m trying to find FR 85 to make a shortcut to meet up with the ridge trail but the only FR 85 I see seems to go in the wrong direction and is overgrown, I just continue on the Sawyer river road instead until I get to the trailhead. It’s an easy stretch of road and the Signal Ridge trail is very good trail. I’m flying up the mile and a half but when I hit the steeper section it seems to go on forever. It doesn’t help that’s it’s getting dark and foggy.
I’m relieved to finally pop out on the exposed ridge, there are no views to be had and the foggy darkness is a little freaky, but at least I know I’m close to the top. When I finally get to the top the moon is so bright it is illuminating the undercast. I’ve never seen anything like it, so cool!
I know the down hill on the other side is going to be tricky so I prepare myself to go slowly. It’s rocky and steep and after it smoothes out a bit it’s still pretty darn steep. I didn’t remember that part. There aren’t a whole lot of places to camp along the way but I find a tiny spot wedged between the sign post and a small tree at Stillwater junction.