Monday, June 4, 2018

The Captain (3520 Ft.)

The Captain from FR86A
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore
DESTINATION: "The Captain"
ELEVATION: 3520 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 05.042, W71 27.744
TRAIL: Sawyer River Rd, FR86, FR86A, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 16.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2620 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: June 3, 2018
WEATHER: 70 degrees, sunny, clear. High pollen counts.

PARKING:  At the date of posting Sawyer River road has been closed indefinitely due to a trivial washout making the closest parking lot at the entrance to Sawyer River Rd on Route 302. This adds a 3.75 mile distance to access the standard trailhead at the end of Sawyer River Rd.  I'd recommend a bicycle.

Driving Time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mt. Carrigan Quad

MAP: (The Captain)


Blue lines represent the distance cycled.  Light blue is the 3.75 miles to the traditional parking area on Sawyer River Rd and the darker blue is a 2.33 mile pedal on Fire Roads 86 and 86A to a large open field.

The red line represents a 2 mile bushwhack.

DESCRIPTION:

This was a revisit to The Captain after a poorly planned failed attempt in 2017 ending up on hiking to approximately 3200 Ft elevation and but on the wrong side of a significant drop-off. This was my opportunity to correct those errors unfortunately, Sawyer River Rd suffered a washout over the winter of 2018 and currently the USFS has hesitated to repair the damage leaving Sawyer River Rd closed indefinitely. This adds a 3.75 mile road walk to the trail head. I biked the 3.75 miles to the start of Fire Road 86 and was able to continue biking another 2.33 miles along the Fire Road to a large open field at N44 03.840, W71 25.146. I parked, changed into the hiking boots and with burning legs, followed the overgrown rock-climber herd path 1.5 miles to a small clearing at N44 04.749, W71 27.288. The herd path is overgrown in several placed and the last 0.5 miles is challenging following a dry stream bed making it difficult to navigate. Once at the clearing I set a bearing for Carrigan Pond and encountered thick woods which transitioned to heavy spruce then extremely steep inclines and occasionally all three combined. It was nice to reach the somewhat level col with a short stint of open woods before a steep and thick 0.2 mile final pitch to the summit canister.

There are some steep drops and thick woods and I did my best to follow my footsteps most of the way back down.


TRAIL DISTANCES: (Biking in blue, hiking in red)

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Bike to Sawyer River rd parking area 3.75 miles 3.75 miles
Bike Fire Rd 86 to open filed 2.33 miles 6.1 miles
Hike herd path to open area 1.55 miles 7.65 miles
Bushwhack to The Captain 0.55 miles 8.2 miles

HIKING TIMES: (Biking in blue, hiking in red)

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Bike to Sawyer River rd parking area 40 minutes 40 minutes
Bike Fire Rd 86 to open filed 20 minutes 20 minutes
Hike herd path to open area 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Bushwhack to The Captain 1 hour 2 hours 45 minutes
Summit - Bike 1 hour 15 min 4 hours
Bike to parking 30 min hour 4 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The bike was a smart decision allowing me to make great time. I pedaled over 6 miles and cut a 4.5 mile bushwhack into about 2 miles. The pedal in was almost all uphill and I spent most of the time in the easiest gear range as possible churning my legs with each pedal. After parking my quadriceps were burning and I questioned the decision to bike. At 3520 Feet, The Captain is ranked #99 of the NH 102 peaks over 3500 feet.

The Captain's prominence is listed at 220 feet due to the nearby Mt. Carrigan but don't let that fool you. The elevation at the start of Sawyer River Rd is 900 Ft and 1640 Feet at the Trailhead kiosk. Making the elevation increase over 2600 Feet from the road or almost 1900 feet from the kiosk.

The summit offers no views but contains a canister, a couple pints of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (they looked significantly watered down and I didn't sample the goods). There are also a couple pirate eye patches in the canister providing some mild entertainment at the summit.  There weren't a lot of photo opportunities (unless you like a close up view of spruce boughs). 

The bike ride return to the parking area was absolutely incredible. A 6 mile high speed downhill ride that made the incoming uphill churn completely worth it.

The Captain summit canister


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