Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Carrigain: 2.10.08

There are certain hikes I don’t look forward to. Heading up East Osceola from the Greeley Ponds trailhead along the Kancamagus is one such hike but I attribute that to the brute steepness of the trail leading up to and just above the slide.

My other least favorite mountain is Carrigain. Go figure. This is the favorite peak of many folks. It’s a 10-mile hike in fairer months and 14 miles in the winter since Sawyer Hill Road is gated. And it’s not particularly grueling, not compared to some others. But for some reason when I hit the switchbacks I start to suffer and it seems to take an extremely long time to get to Signal Ridge. From there to the summit tower is not a problem. It’s just getting to Signal Ridge that does me in.

Today it was the same but luckily Atticus and I had company who didn’t mind waiting for me in my many mini stops along the way. Because we were with Mike and John O’Donnell and they drove, I had no choice but to get an early start. The snow did fall on us, however, and when it did it came down heavily and quickly with a squall that seemed more like a full-blown storm to me. Luckily we were well off the ridge, off the steeps and down along the flat walk when it came. It was one of the few times this winter Atti had his body suit on. And let me just say that other than the company and the fact we got this one done, it was not a pleasure to hike. I forced myself to be out there today, but that's what happens when you run a marathon. There are times when you just force yourself to put one foot in front of the other.

Much like yesterday there were no views today but today the summit didn’t seem as desolate but that had more to do with the fact that we had company. Yesterday, after we passed the last group on their way back from South Kinsman while we were still on our way out there, it was just Atticus and I and it was like stepping into a void. Not only were there no views there was no seeing just 100 feet in front of us while walking in a cloud.

The number now stands at 37 and I have to stop thinking about the number of peaks left and think instead of the number of hikes left. Now there are 24 hikes left, unless we throw together a Pressie Traverse, then it is 23 hikes left in the 38 days of winter. I came into this weekend wanting to hike four days in a row but the weather might not allow it tomorrow. I’m not sure what is broken out now after the heavy snows and the day-to-day snowfall and the high winds we are supposed to get tonight and into tomorrow.