Monday, July 13, 2009

Mt. Cardigan Run

I decided to go for a training run up Mt. Cardigan during our visit to New Hampshire. In training for Pikes, I need to find ways to get in long runs up and downhill. Mt. Cardigan fit the bill except I needed to start about five miles away from the trailhead in order to get in more time on my feet.

I began my early morning by parking in downtown Alexandria. The village square probably hasn't changed in 100 years. I proceeded on paved & dirt roads until I hit the AMC Cardigan Lodge. From there the 2.5 mile trail to the summit began.

The first half mile was uneventful. Then all the rain NH had received that week reared its ugly head. The trail was a mess. The rest of the way was pretty much what you see above in the sloppy trail photo.

As I got closer to the granite face summit, I entered the clouds. The temperature dropped & the wind picked up dramatically. They mark the trail on granite with small spray paint marks. If I didn't have those, I surely would have gotten disoriented and lost. It was a very weird feeling to be surrounded by thick fog on top of mountain. Visibility was about 50 feet. I contemplated turning around, but wanted to find the fire tower, which marked the summit. Slowly, it came into view. It was so spooky up there, that the fire tower took on a "haunted house" look and I no longer cared to hang around!

The run back was nice once I got out of the fog & wind. So in total, I got in about 15 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain. It was a good run for conditioning my legs. I need to be up at higher altitudes in order to prepare for that piece of the Pikes equation.

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