BACK TO LIFE ON CARDIGAN
There is something really special about Mount Cardigan. The often rough but often sleek granite rock, etched into the mountaintop leading all the way up to the top of the mountain with irreplaceable views makes this a "must do" for anyone on the list of East Coast Mountain. It was over two and a half years since by last major East Coast Mountain Mount Lafayette, where I stuggled down the mountain because of knee problems.For me the challenge of the Manning Trail to the top is an excellent one and I would like to do it again now that I do not have fibromyalgia.
As a writer, it is the view on the top I like the best with the majestic view that the top summons and beckons me to write about in a poem. There is a special bird song (One day maybe I will find out what that song is ) and my husband heard it as well and it sounds like an old spirit. The sounds envelops you and it is a haunting sound and seems to echo more the less people are there. It is almost as if there is a mountain spirit beckoning you to it. I believe it is. That is why Mount Cardigan is special to me.
My friend Diane, who is about 46 years old and in great shape and I started up what I thought was the "harder" trail (or what others have called more challenging but not the harder or hardest trail) called the West Ridge Trail. I have to say I would, in the better health I am in, would like to hike the mountain again.
Overall, I have a special affection for Cardigan, because of the bird spirit, and what I have told to my husband to be "good vibes" or good spirits on the trail. This was my second trip up the mountain, the first being the West Ridge Trail. It is a great workout for the mind and the body. The reason for the workout for the mind is that the beautifully laid paths on the way to the top and the well marked trails along with the spectacular views that almost tease one in leading up to the top made for me a very pensive and thoughtful trail. I would have to say that Greg's definition of switchbacks have to be very different from mind as a beginning hiker, but there were an awful lot of "false summits" to me on the way up to Cardigan, but I find that this sort of being on the edge of my seat hiking keeps me putting one leg in front of the other. As an overweight person who just little more than a month ago suffered from chronic pain for over 14 years, I find that I need something on a mountain to give me a reason to keep going. On Cardigan, it the constantly changing scenery and the zig zagging of the rocks. Diane just kept saying "Just one more rock" or "Just one more tough part" and I have to say that this along with the beckoning to the top (as I had done Cardigan once before a few years ago but hardly remember anything except the beloved view) kept me going.
On Mount Cardigan, it gives one a serious workout but is still a very "doable" mountain in skill level for all levels. It is one that each skill level can get something out of. I felt that, at the time, it was a great hike for me since I had chronic pain all throughout my body with fibromyalgia, although, since seeing an excellent spinal specialist, it is virtually gone. I am very lucky for that, but in looking back and the fact that the hike was only a couple of months ago, I did a great job in getting to the top.
Thanks to Diane for her patience in getting to the top.
Diane and I went in September, a grea time to go. Some have said, in my reading of this moutain's loyalists, not to hike past October due to ice difficulties and the potentialities of difficult weather. I would say that to anyone trying to figure out how to see the New Hampshire region and also meet some fellow hikers, the both the Manning on the east side and the West Ridge Trail on the west side are great ways to go. Cardigan does have a diversity of trails and routes though, which is what is so fascinating about this particular region on New Hampshire. As a beginner, I thought I was on one of the hardest trails and it was more challenging according to Diane, who is an excellent hiker. However, in my hindsight of not being in chronic pain, I would say it is very pleasant.
If you are looking for one on one meditation time or serenity, you may want to hike earlier than others because come noon that trail is heavily populated all through the weekend. There are people coming in from area New Hampshire towns and a lot of natives but also those from Massachusetts or Vermont too. Overall, the view on Cardigan, to me, of all mountains listed here that I have ever hiked, truly is my favorite. And, if you are feeling that you want a comraderie of hikers, there is not greater place than Cardigan where you will see nice mixture of families and children and school groups but also those more advanced hikers who (to them) are just going for a "stroll." (Hiking reviews allow for "humor relief"!)
Speaking of relief, getting to the top was a relief for me as I was in serious pain and had delayed onset for several days after that hike.
I have talked to others though including Diane who hike a lot, including my husband, East King, who consider this to still be a moderate hike. It is no Mount Lafayette, which is a review for a near future date.
It sure does feel good to be writing even something very basic, as for a couple of years due to chronic pain I was out of operation. As a writer who has not written in a long time, it sure is nice to be writing something, and I can hopefully return to it again when I can hike the mountain with my full wits about me (meaning now that I am not in chronic pain, full oxygen going to my brain). I hope anyone reading this can spread the word about fibromyalgia and recommend chiropractic or alternative health therapies to their friends or family. Also, I hope you can additionally recommend hiking as an excellent way for someone with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue have a sense of accomplishment.
This Thanksgiving season, I would like to thank my special nature and mountain man Greg for always believing in me and believing in me enough that I could even hike mountains and he always paced behind me so I would find my way. He always allowed me to go forward. With someone of his skill and caliber to do that every time, with unconditional love, is a true partner and friend.
Thanks, Greg. Thanks to Diane too who in not knowing me that well decided to go with me to the top and put up with my chronic pain.
Submitted: November 25th, 2006
Posted Feb 24, 2006 12:55 pm