I coordinated so that my last 4 thousand footer was around the time of my 22nd birthday on July 10th. My family drove down for my birthday and also to hike the final 48 with me. They had never hiked in New Hampshire before. In addition, I had 8 friends who agreed to come up with me for the final ascent. We all packed into cars and headed to the Harvard Outing Club (Harvard Low) Cabin for the weekend.
I chose Carrigain as my last 4 thousand footer because you are supposed to be able to see 43 of the others from the summit. I thought the fire tower and amazing views on signal ridge would be an appropriate finish to the epic journey.
The day that we chose to do the ascent, Saturday, July 13th, 2019, was a beautiful day with amazing weather. We all got to the trailhead at around 10am and started our hike to the summit. The group had various paces and conversation topics so I only got to talk to a few people on the hike up which was fine with me. Most of the ascent I got to spend with my father who was a little on the slower side but did not complain once. I was able to tell him all of my memorable stories that came from this journey and the different experiences I had.
When we got onto Signal Ridge, the views were absolutely stunning. The group let me take the lead as I lead into the last little bit and eventually summited Carrigain. Touching the top rock and looking around at friends and family was a special moment and not one that I will soon forget. I am infinitely grateful for them taking the time to be there for me.
We popped two bottles of champagne at the top and took a ton of photos before heading down on what was a slow and leisurely descent. I chatted and reflected on the journey with my family while we took up the rear. It was pretty awesome to be able to share the experience with them as they hiked their first of the 48, and I hiked my final one. We arrived back at the cars and took off back to the Harvard Low Cabin to celebrate. A truly amazing day.
~ Cameron Maltman ’19
P.s. I woke up the next morning and was asked if I wanted to hike Chocorua instead of going back to Boston immediately as was the plan. A big smile widened on my face and I instantly agreed. This is not a finish line but just another milestone along the way of a life spent outdoors.