Hiked Firescrew, Cardigan and Orange on 5/21/2017. Weather was clear and in the 40s to start and warmed up to the 60s by the finish. There were a few pesky black flies after it warmed up but they didn’t seem to be biting. Lots of spring flowers, good views from all 3 summits and very few people out except on the summit of Cardigan. I started at the AMC Cardigan Lodge where the parking lot was completely full but no one was around, I guess they were all inside eating breakfast. I took the Manning trail up to the summit of Firescrew. There were many false summits before you reach the actual summit. There were a lot of ledges which could have been quite slippery if they were wet or icy.
I headed over to Cardigan from Firescrew on the Mowglis trail. The map showed a short trail down to a Cave Grotto that I wanted to go see but I missed it and had to turn back to find it. Apparently the sign was missing or there never was one but I did find some faint blue blazes and followed them to a cave. The trail was hard to follow and had a significant cliff challenge but I made it down and back up without incident.
I then climbed the ledges to the summit where I took a short break and looked around at all the views. The firetower was locked. It was too early to eat lunch so I headed down the West Ridge trail and over to Orange.
I stopped to eat my PBJ at a good view point as I wasn’t sure there were views on the summit. Turns out there were views from the summit.
From the summit I took the Vista Mont trail down over to the Clark trail. On the way down was when the black flies started to be a nuisance.
There were a surprising number of really beat up trail signs and signs that were missing. Good thing I had a map so I could figure out which way to go.
I took the Clark trail down to the Woodland trail and back to the lodge and parking lot.
Only 44 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.