Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cannon & The Kinsmans - April 18, 2011

Me at Summit of Cannon Mt.
Well, it seemed as if it had been forever, but after three weeks of family birthday parties and a couple of no-gos because of the crazy white mountain weather, I finally was able to get back to the task at hand by hiking Cannon and the Kinsmans on April 18th. Bill, Sean, and I completed Cannon all together. The Kinsman Ridge Trail up Cannon, right now, is one of our steepest hikes to date. After a strenuous climb, we were rewarded to excellent views from the observation tower for my 10th peak of the year.

Looking back North at Cannon
We continued on the Kinsman Ridge Trail, and began to descend the backside of Cannon. This section of the trail was extremely steep and icy. Going around was less icy, but no less steep. Once down this section, Bill's leg was acting up, and decided that going back was the best idea, rather than being in pain and going further away from the car. Having been mentally and physically prepared to complete the 3 summits, I persuaded Bill and Sean, that I must continue on to complete the Kinsmans during this trip. We checked our watches and map, and established our rendezvous point at the Lafayette Place Campground. Off I went, south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail towards the Northeast Cannonball. Northeast Cannonball is #100 on the New England Hundred Highest List at 3769'.

The Kinsman Ridge trail in the area of the Cannonballs was fairly difficult to follow. The snow near the summits is STILL pretty deep, and the blazes were tough to navigate. Blow-downs and leaners everywhere caused me to lose the trail. I have this video where I lose the trail and have difficulty finding the next blue blaze on the trail. I bushwhacked and eventually found the trail.

From S. Kinsman

From N. Kinsman
The sections going up North Kinsman and South Kinsman felt relatively similar. Both offered excellent and constant views of Franconia Ridge in the low-lying clouds. Since Bill and Sean would be waiting for me at Lafayette Place, I did not have time to waste on the summits. I took a short water break on North Kinsman and snack break on South Kinsman, and then quickly returned to the Kinsman Junction. North Kinsman is my 11th peak and South Kinsman is my 12th peak of 2011.

Fishin' Jimmy Trail
The Fishin' Jimmy Trail descends quickly, but the evens out and goes over a few hills before you get to Lonesome Lake. I have seen many pictures of Lonesome Lake on others' reports, and was excited to see it myself. Bill, Sean, and I had not seen anyone on the trail through Cannon, and that stayed the same throughout, as I enjoyed both Kinsmans and my entire hike back past Loneseome Lake and the hut by myself. How ironic, but it was nice. The hike out seemed to get a little long, I had jogged a good distance too, but I finally made it to the campground at 5pm, and Bill and Sean were there waiting. I have now completed one quarter of my journey in just under 4 months.

Hike Stats
Trails: Kinsman Ridge Trail, Fishin' Jimmy Trail, Lonesome Lake Trail
Elevation Gain: 4700ft
Distance: 13 miles
Time: 9:00

To view selected photos from this trip, the slideshow is below.

Just because Bill and Sean did not finish the hike with me, it doesn't mean they didn't have their own fun! Check them out taking the easy way down:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ipswich River - First Paddle of 2011 - April 16, 2011

Although the weather was favorable for us to give it a go, it turned out to be a pretty chilly day on the water. Bill and I set out from Ipswich River Park in North Reading for our first paddle of the season in 2011. The water was average depth; I think it seemed to be down about a foot and a half from when I scouted it a week or so before. Last year during our paddle of similar length the water was much higher. The water flow throughout our entire time on the river was constant and never still. With this being the case, it becomes much easier to navigate the course of the river.

We left from the Ipswich River Park in North Reading and paddled approximately 12 miles of the winding river to Thunder Bridge in Middleton. It was certainly prime mating time for geese and unfortunately in our travels, we inadvertently disrupted some of them, as they squawked at us on several occasions.

We portaged around the Bostik Dam. Although the water was lower than before, the water close to the falls was  too choppy to get in closer, so we had to portage quite a bit around it before getting in. You can view our entire portage of the Bostik Dam in the video below. The best way to go is left, and if you have not approached the dam before, theres not much that tells you theres a decent falls there, so use caution in high water.

Once into Middleton, we continued through the swamp and made it to the South Middleton gauge at Route114 pretty quickly. After 114, the river winds back toward the road as you circle a peninsula that must has a shooting range on it. After that bend, eventually the river heads west further into Middleton. The rest of the way to Thunder Bridge was pretty uneventful, as was most of the trip, but it was good to get out on the water.

We didn't take many photos on this trip, but we did shoot some video. Here is one of Bill going over a blowdown: