Friday, July 31, 2015

Mt Carrigain

As usual, Wednesday night meant little sleep. We were called for a Boston transfer a little after 9pm and didn't get on the road until close to 11pm. Even going with lights on the way down, the trip was still long, getting us back at 4am. I drove there and back. It was an absolute struggle on the way back. I ended up putting an earbud in one ear with music blasting to keep me awake. It barely worked. I was out cold by 4:30am and lucked out with no 911s, so I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep. Waking up at 6:30am was tough, and I started to doubt the run I had planned. I wasn't doing my usual 10 hour Tamworth shift this Thursday, so I had planned a decent mountain run up Mt Carrigain with a loop back via Carrigain Notch. I was thinking I'd be too tired for this one, but I kept it in my plan for the day. I stopped at Conway Fire on my way home to drop off my application and ended up shooting the shit with Sol and Matt for about half an hour. By the time I got home, I just wanted to lie down and go to sleep. I didn't do it, though. I got dressed and forced myself out the door and drove to Crawford Notch.

Maybe the coffee kicked in or something, but by the time I got up there, I was wide awake and ready to go. I drove up Sawyer River Road and parked at the Signal Ridge Trail lot. There were a few cars in the lot already, so I was a little bummed. I'm selfish and like to have summits to myself. :) But whatever. I started up the trail which was fairly flat for the first 2 miles until I turned off on the Desolation Trail. From here, the trail got steep. It would level off occasionally, but for the most part it was a long, steep climb. The weather was extremely hot and humid already, and I was drenched in sweat. I had to stop around mile 4 to drink some water, which is not something I usually have to do. I had hydrated well that morning, but the humidity was quickly draining me of fluids, and I found myself parched. I probably stopped for 2-3 minutes. About 4.5 miles in, the trail came out on an open Ridge where I could see the summit of Carrigain.
View of Mt Carrigain summit
 The ridge run was cool, but short, and soon I was back in the trees. I ran into a hiker from Gorham coming down from the summit and stopped to chat with him for a minute. He called himself "just a hiker" compared to my running. I told him that I'm also a hiker and that I love both. :) It was just a short distance to the summit from there. What a relief. A very cool breeze was blowing, and I had the summit to myself.
Summit of Mt Carrigain.

Look back at the trail along the ridge
I stayed up there for about 10 minutes, but I was actually getting chilly from the wind on my sweaty clothes, and I still had 8 miles to go. I continued on the Desolation Trail down the other side of the mountain.
It started out going down very gradually for the first part, then became extremely steep. It wasn't even runnable for the first .6 miles down from the summit. I was mostly climbing down boulders.
This might have been my slowest portion of the run since I pretty much wasn't running at all. It finally leveled off and became runnable again for the rest of the run. The trail met up with the Carrigain Notch Trail that turned back towards the trailhead and cut in between Mt Carrigain and Mts Anderson and Lowell. It had a little climb in the middle, but for the most part it was a regular trail run the whole way back to the Signal Ridge Trail and back to the trailhead. There were no views from the Notch, really, except one brief glimpse of Mt Lowell. I didn't mind the green tunnel, though, since it was so hot out. The shade was very much appreciated. I finished up the run right around 3 hours with just under 4000 ft of gain. 13.2 miles. Really enjoyable run. I'll be back to do this one again on a cooler day.

The drive home was difficult. Fatigue set in quickly, and I could barely keep my eyes open. By the time I got home, I wanted to collapse. I had some coffee, showered, then headed out to a quick appointment. It didn't take long, and I came right home after. I was so beat, so I layed down for awhile. I was on-call for the ambulance from 5pm to 7am, so I hoped I wouldn't get called in. The rest of the night was a wash because I was so tired and in bed just after 8pm. Fortunately, I never did get called in and got a decent night's sleep. Wednesdays are killing me, but I won't complain. I'm back where I want to be, and I'd much rather be losing a night's sleep than sitting at a desk in front of a computer at the chiropractor.

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