A few weeks ago, the Hubs and I hiked Mt. Cardigan. My first “big” mountain at 3,121 feet at the summit, a 3 mile “moderate” hike. The payoff: some self esteem for mama. Oh, and a little 360degree vista, but we’ll come back to that.
When we were making plans to move up here, I had grand visions of hiking all the hikes and mountains, taking in all the views and pics and checking off fire towers and 4,000 footers weekly. Ha.
Did I say, “ha”?
A week or so prior to Mt. Cardigan, I had hiked Mt. Ascutney with a friend. It was hard. It was ridiculous. It was humbling. It was a big fat reality check and I blogged it HERE. Mt. Ascutney handed me a piece of humble pie, filled with rocks, gravel, bees, gnats and straight uphill for 2 hours. My mind was all, “this was supposed to be fun”, my legs were all, “WTF?”. I truly questioned if I would ever really be able to hike all the fire towers and 4,000 footers that I dreamed about way back in flat Florida. I needed a Win. I needed a boost. Hubby suggested Cardigan and off we went to find mama some self-esteem.
As a little side note, the interesting thing about New Hampshire is the North/South travel is fantastic—easy interstates, great roads, in between mountains and through valleys. East/West is a much more winding, rambling, twisting, OVER the mountains kind of travel, which generally doubles your travel time. Mt. Cardigan involved quite of bit of East/West and juuuuuuuuuuuuust as we were entering the park we encountered a “road closed” sign.
Apparently, we need to get in the habit of doing recon on our hikes PRIOR to our hikes for parking, weather and road closure notifications. Had we done that, we would have seen that a recent storm did a number on the road and DOT was repairing the roadway into the park.
Fortunately, we had just enough service to eek out the alternate entrance to the trail. Just a mere 45 min-ish through the winding and dirt roads. Did I mention it was around 3pm? A wee issue since it gets dark early ‘round these parts. So we were pushing it. And we did. Pushed it.
We finally found the park entrance and geared up for the hike. I had my new trekking poles, bear horn and appropriate clothing. Off we went.
You know what? It was GREAT!!!! Some challenging areas. Some rocks. Some water and a little bridge. Some easy areas. And we made it to the summit. Rock faced (similar to Mt. Kearsarge) and all glorious 360 degrees AND a fire tower! It was amazing. Except for the couple of minutes that Bandit got the zoomies and that kind of freaked me out but I was able to settle him down pretty quickly. Thank goodness. Zoomies at 3,000+ feet of rock face was a little scary. For me. Not for Bandit. Anyway………………
Self esteem repaired. More mountains and fire towers to come. Snowshoeing and skiing may come first, but we’ll play this New England weather as it comes.
Enjoy the pics!