Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kinsmans & Cannon - 6/6/15

After a fun and fast mid-afternoon bush whack hike to Owls Head, I grabbed a chicken parmesan sub in Lincoln before heading on over to Lafayette Place.  I was excited to continue hiking into the night as it would be my 8th round finish on Cannon.  It was a beautiful night with warm temperatures, a breeze, and little bugs.  The Kinsmans and Cannon are my least frequented peaks, at this point in the journey for the grid, which means I'll be visiting them in each of the next few months, and will also finish 9th round on Cannon.
Lonesome Lake Trail
A nice tribute and quote to live by.
The hike up to Lonesome Lake was pretty easy going.  It's only been a couple of times now that I've gone up the Lonesome Lake Trail to start this loop.  As I walked around the pond, I read the nice quote in honor of David Copestakes, which was followed immediately by a breathtaking view of the Lafayette and Lincoln from the boardwalk at Lonesome Lake.  I walked up to the side of the hut, and could see the open door with the noise of everyone busy and chatting at dinner.  Still to this day, after passing it at least 9 times, this remains the only hut I've yet to step foot inside.  It seems fitting that perhaps in my very near future I could plan to enjoy a quick visit...perhaps at the end of a Hut-to-Hut Traverse (we'll see).  I never really stopped to ponder about going in, and kept on my way up the steep and rugged Fishin' Jimmy Trail.
Lonesome Lake Hut Entrance
Fishin' Jimmy Trail
Sunset was taking place as I approached the Kinsman Ridge and Kinsman Junction. The color was bright orange with a bunch of scattering pink, which motivated me to reach North Kinsman and enjoy a really nice evening twilight view out over Franconia Ridge.  Arriving at South Kinsman, the sun had since dipped below the horizon offering a dark landscape topped with the deep orange glow of the set sun. The Kinsmans have never been an exciting pair of peaks to bag, but on this beautiful night it was a nice scene making for one of my favorite visits.
Sunset from the Kinsman Ridge Trail
North Kinsman Summit
View from South Kinsman after Sunset
Summit of South Kinsman after sunset
After South Kinsman and the loss of light, was the rugged traverse along the Kinsman Ridge Trail and over the Cannonballs to get to Cannon. The trail was a little muddy but at all times easy to follow.  It's up and down with a lot of tough footing, but hiking at night allows a different type of focus to keep going at a fast pace.  I had one of the most interesting animal encounters along this stretch.  Wearing headphones, I stopped for about 30 seconds or more, looking down, playing with my phone, sending out a text. While doing so, I caught movement out of the top of my eye coming towards me at a pretty quick pace. My immediate reaction had me yell, "hey!", and in response, it darted in the other direction after making it to just a foot or so away from me.  Turns out, it was a little bunny running full speed at me. I was pretty startled!! Thank the heavens it was not a bobcat or mountain lion or lynx or something! After the scare, I continued on, battling the steepest parts of this section to get onto Cannon.
Kinsman Ridge Trail at night ended route to Cannonballs
It was a little bit cooler as I made my way up to the tower observation deck.  There was no one else around of course, and it was nice to complete my 8th Round atop Cannon looking down on the lights of Littleton and other nearby towns. I head over to begin my descent of the Hi-Cannon Trail, but not before taking a lovely break atop the cliff where I saw the almost full moonlight rising over Lincoln and Lafayette.  In a matter of a few more minutes, I was jogging my way down the Lonesome Lake Trail back to my car.  What a great day it was to hike Owl's Head and the Kinsmans and Cannon. After the fun day, I head over to Ferncroft, where the next morning, I'd tackle Whiteface and Passaconaway.
Nighttime lights from Cannon's summit.
8th Round Finish summit photo atop Cannon
Hi-Cannon Trail ladder at niget. 

Almost full moonlight over the ridge while descending.
Kinsmans - 9th Round
Cannon - #48 of 8th Round
Did not see another person (except the noise emanating from the hut as I passed)

Trail Conditions:
Overall there were decent conditions and no hazards that I recall.  Most of the Kinsman Ridge Trail between South Kinsman and Cannon was damp or wet, but not that bad.  The other parts, well they were pretty steep and dark, especially over the Cannonballs.
Lonesome Lake Trail 
Fishin' Jimmy Trail 
Kinsman Ridge Trail
Hike Stats
Trails: Lonesome Lake Trail, Fishin' Jimmy Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail, Hi-Cannon Trail
Distance: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,326 ft.
Actual Book Time: 5:57
Garmin Adventure Link (Upload later)

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