Even though a lengthy queue of images from P.E.I. has formed in my WordPress editor I could not resist telling about our visit to, and hike up, Mt. Cardigan near Orange, New Hampshire. Following our departure from P.E.I. we knew we would be traveling The Granite State and had hoped to climb Mt. Washington, having last done so more than a decade ago. When we realized that Gorham was a two-hour drive from where we were staying we opted for a visit to nearby Mt. Cardigan. Although not technically above treeline (which occurs at an approximate elevation of 4500′ in this part of the world) the 3156′ summit of Cardigan is almost entirely without vegetation as the result of a devastating forest fire in 1855. The scarcity of vegetation at and near the summit is evidence of the slow growth habit of sub alpine flora and, perhaps more to the point, the near complete absence of soil. Because its summit is bare the mountain also goes by the nickname of Old Baldy. Cardigan can be hiked at any time of year though its exposure makes for a difficult climb in winter. Cairns, like the one shown below, replace trail blazes on paths because they are more easily seen and may make the difference between a safe and an unsafe climb in poor conditions. Click the image to view a larger version with higher screen resolution.