Two weeks ago, Aubrey and I were on our way to hike Cardigan which is two hours away in Orange NH. We were just a few miles away from the trailhead, and Aubrey declared she needed to go to the bathroom. As I was telling her it was just a bit longer, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a look of panic on her face. Seconds later, she threw up everywhere. So I pulled over, cleaned her up the best I could do and turned the car around and we headed home. Since then Aubrey has felt really bad about not making it to our hike so I promised we would go back and do it again. So on Friday, we ventured all the way back. This time we made it to the parking lot, and to the top!
We arrived just after 9am and we were on the West Ridge Trail just before 9:30. The first half mile of the trail was very mild, at times it felt that we could never reach the top if it stayed that flat, or we would have a tough climb ahead of us eventually. We reached the intersection of West Ridge and South Ridge and turned left to stay on the West Ridge trail. Throughout the next leg, there were some minor scrambles, but still very mild. We reached the “Cliff’s Bridge” and finally started seeing other hikers on the way down. Aubrey chatted with them and showed off her backpack and boots. Soon after the bridge we started to get some views above the short trees.
Soon enough we broke the treeline, I was still looking forward to doing some fun scrambling on the way up, but we found nothing but smooth rock the entire the last quarter mile. We followed the cairns all the way up to the small fire tower at the top and sat down to enjoy our lunch and a large Chocolate Chip Cookie from Dublin General Store. There were only 5 other hikers sitting around when we arrived, but as we were finishing up, larger groups had arrived and it started to get a bit crowded so we put our packs back on and headed back down.
We took our hike heading down the slick rocks and soon made it back into the treeline. We passed by the AMC East Sign and Aubrey was asking what that meant, so I explained the AMC Huts to her and told her how we can make plans to hike to one and spend a night. She was very excited to try that. Most of the hike down was uneventful, until the last quarter mile. We had passed a group of tourists hikers from out of country, the 6 kids trudged past us, and then the dads. The dads stopped us and asked how long the hike takes, and I told them it took is 3 hours round trip, and they seemed very shocked by that number. A few paces later the moms came up to us. “Are we there yet?” as they were waving a map at me. I explained that they only had gone a quarter of a mile, and how the entire hike up is 1.5 miles, 3 miles round trip. I showed them our location on the map and they were not impressed. I wished them good luck and Aubrey and I headed on our way.
Next, I heard an odd sound right off the trail. It sounded like a rattle. Timber Rattlesnakes are present in NH but are extremely rare. I believe the only know population is over by Bear Brook State Park. I can still hear the sound. I looked around, but only saw the leaves on the forest floor, moving around. Whatever it was was hiding under the leaves and was pretty large by the patterns it was making as it moved around. Whatever was moving the leaves, and made the sound never showed itself, so I will never know for sure if it was a rattler.
It was great day for a hike, the weather was perfect the trail was nice, albeit a bit easier than I was wanting, but we have now checked off another 52 With A View hike as well as another NH Fire Tower. As we headed home, we made a pit stop at my aunts farm, Autumn Harvest Farm. We got to meet her six new sheep!