Still Winter in Franconia Notch

Date of Hike: 4/6/13

Kinsman Ridge Trail: 8.4 miles
Fishin' Jimmy Trail: 2.0 miles
Lonesome Lake: 0.4 miles
Dodge Cutoff: 0.3 miles
Hi-Cannon Trail: 0.8 miles
Lonesome Lake Trail: 0.4 miles
Bike Path: 2.5 miles
Total Miles: 14.8
5,150 feet elevation gain

Trip Report:
- After a month off it was time to head back to the mountains and get back in the groove of hiking.  The forecast called for sunny skies but lots of wind.  I wanted some dynamite views with limited exposure so I headed to Franconia Notch for a Cannon - Kinsmans Loop.
- There were no other cars in the tram parking lot at Cannon Mountain Ski Area at 8:15 a.m. so I was going to have the whole mountain to myself.
- It was below twenty degrees and very windy as I geared up, but once again as I started hiking I warmed up fast and the wind was a non issue as I was bundled up with very little exposed skin.
- The Kinsman Ridge Trail doesn't mess around, it's steep, then gets steeper, until finally easing off the last half mile which is exposed to the wind.  However, the good news is the snow cover makes this a much easier trail in the winter and early spring as the rocks, roots, mud, and wetness is all covered up.
- The hike up wasn't too bad, the trail was hard packed so microspikes worked perfectly.  There were a few powdery drifts along the way but it was child's play.
- I hiked at a quick pace and was excited to see the views to the east of Franconia Ridge and they did not disappoint.  Crystal clear views in all directions, however with the wind whipping I had to keep on moving fast so not to freeze up.  I even had to put my goggles on, first time in two years!
- The observation tower at the summit was snow crusted and the steps were icy. The wind was the worst here so I quickly ran up, took a few pics and got the heck out of there.
- Next, I headed south towards the suffer-fest part of the hike, a trek through the 'Cannon Balls'.  They are sub peaks of Cannon Mountain, they don't offer many views and it's the equivalent to hiking from Wildcat A to D peaks.
- As I descended from the summit I ran into a hiker at the Hi-Cannon Trail junction waiting for his friends who were working on their 48 - 4,000 footers.  I chatted with him briefly before the steep descent to Coppermine Col.  Once again this section is one hundred times easier in snow cover.  All the boulders are covered in snow so you basically slide down to the col and the Lonesome Lake Trail Junction.
- From here I ran into my only decision of the day.  Do I head down to Lonesome Lake and head back to the car, do head down to Lonesome Lake then book it up the Fn' Jummy trail and bag the Kinsmans, or do I continue south along the Kinsman Ridge Trail through all the cannon balls over a snow drifted single bare-boot track for 2.5 miles.
- For quite some time I have been taking it extra cautious on the trails.  It has kind of put me in a funk.  Today I decided to snap out of it and went for it as I put on my snowshoes and started breaking trail.
- Over the next 2.5 miles I followed the bare boot track when I could and just plowed through the snow drifts when necessary.  I only lost the trail for a couple of feet here and there so I was psyched to be back to my old self. 
- I enjoyed the Cannon Balls as much as one can.  The trail was narrow and scratchy in spots with some gnarly blow-downs that had to be crawled under and walked over.  The last half mile was a gut-check, at one point I thought I was about five minutes away from Kinsman Junction when in fact I was about twenty minutes away.   I was thrilled to make it to the junction and take off my snowshoes.
- As I was relaxing another hiker came speeding by as I was stuffing my face with animal crackers.
- After about ten minutes I was getting cold so I quickly started hiking and was happy that I was ascending again so I could heat up.
- From the Kinsman Junction to the summit of North Kinsman the trail has some steep sections just below the summit.  As I crested one steep section a Golden Retriever dog came zooming from in front of me and quickly went behind me.  A few seconds later it turned around and decided it was play time and started jumping in the snow, and on me, I fell down, it licked my face, it was awesome!  It was so fast that I didn't get a picture but I remember seeing the dog the day after Christmas just below Mount Pierce and got a picture of it then!
- A few minutes later I made the summit of North Kinsman and descended the ascended to South Kinsman.  The stretch between the two peaks is one of the easier hikes between two 4,000 footer and once again it's much easier with snow cover.
- Views from South Kinsman Summit where phenomenal.  It was still windy but warmer so I stayed on the summit for ten minutes before I started to freeze.
- From here I quickly went back over North Kinsman and down to Kinsman Junction before descending the Fishin' Jimmy Trail.  The descent along the Fn' Jimmy trail was fun and I ran into two girls heading up to bag the Kinsmans, both were having fun and enjoying this section before heading into the wind.
- I made it to Lonesome Lake hut which had a party going on inside.  I decided to stay outside and chatted with a couple who had brought a sled in, they told me the lake was frozen solid still so I could still cross it.
- It was my first time crossing Lonesome Lake, I really enjoyed the view of the Franconia Ridge rising up above in front of me.
-  When I hit Codge Cutoff I went the wrong way and took the Dodge Cutoff Trail to Hi-Cannon to Lonesome Lake Trail.  It only added three tenths of a mile but it gained one hundred feet which was a kick in the you know what!
- when I reached Lafayette Place I hooked onto the bike path for a few miles.  It was a nice relaxing way to end an kick ass hike!

Cannon Mountain Tram Parking Lot: 8:30 a.m.  /  Cannon Mountain Summit 9:45 a.m.  /  North Kinsman Summit 11:55 a.m.  /  South Kinsman Summit 12:25 a.m.  /  Finished 3:05 p.m.

 Tram Parking Lot
Eagle Cliff in the early morning
 Kinsman Ridge Trail (Northern Terminus)
Kinsman Ridge Trail
Kinsman Ridge Trail
 In and out of the glades on the Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Eagle Cliff
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Echo Lake
 Blaze high snow!
 Mount Lafayette and Lincoln
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Cannon Mountain
 Franconia Notch
 Mount Lafayette
Agony Ridge and Franconia Ridge  
Friggan Tourists!!!
My hiking buddy for the day!
 Franconia Ridge
 View from the scrub towards Eagle Cliff
 Eagle Cliff
Kinsmans from the observation tower
Franconia Notch
 Top of Ski Lift and Mittersill Peak
 Top of Ski Lift
 Rim Trail
 Heading up to Northeast Cannon Ball
 Snow is not going anywhere for a few weeks!
 Cannon Mountain from Northeast Cannon Ball
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 North and South Kinsman from around Middle Cannon Ball
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Trail is there somewhere
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Obstructed view of Cannon Mountain, Mount Lafayette and Lincoln
 Unbroken Kinsman Ridge Trail near West Cannon Ball
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Franconia Ridge
 Descending from North Kinsman Summit
 North Kinsman Summitt
 South Kinsman Summit
 Loon Mountain
 'The Moose' from South Kinsman Summit
 Scar Ridge, Osceola's, and North Tripyramid Slide
North Kinsman
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Franconia Ridge
Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Lonesome Lake
 Lonesome Lake, Franconia Ridge, and the return of my hiking buddy
Lonesome Lake and Mount Lafayette
North and South Kinsman from the middle of Lonesome Lake
 Hi-Cannon Trail 
 Lonesome Lake Trailhead
 Lafayette Place
 Lafayette Place
 Cannon Mountain
 Pemi Bike Path

1 comment:

  1. Great details on the report and the pictures are well done!