November 13, 2011. The foot is still causing pain and the swelling has not gone down much but I tolerate it through the week and baby it in the evening. Not going to let this setback keep me from my goal of climbing the 48 4000 footers. So I get this ambitious idea that I'll do three peaks on this day, Cannon, North Kinsman and South Kinsman. Up at 3:00 am and out the door by 4:00. I get to the trailhead parking lot at Lafayette Campground on the southbound side of I-93 a little after 6 and by 6:20 I am on the trail. First a quick photo of the moon over Kinsman ridge (actually it is the ridge before Lonesome Lake) from the parking lot.
The plan is to start on Lonesome Lake Trail to Hi-Cannon Trail to Kinsman Ridge Trail to Cannon Mt. Go back down the Kinsman Ridge Trail across the Cannon Balls to North Kinsman and then to South Kinsman. Come back across to North Kinsman and then down Fishin' Jimmy Trail to Lonesome Lake Hut. Then back down to the parking lot via Cascade Brook Trail to Lonesome Lake Trail. That was the plan which got thrown out the door almost immediately into the hike.
I start out on the Lonesome Lake Trail and about 15 minutes later come to the intersection with the Hi-Cannon Trail. Heading up this trail wasn't too bad but somewhere I lost the blazes for this path and maybe 20 minutes later I come back out on Lonesome Lake Trail not far above the hairpin turn (damn herd paths!). Rather than backtrack and try to figure out where I missed the trail I wanted to ascend on I stay on Lonesome Lake Trail and continue on up to the lake. I figured maybe it was fate that brought me back onto Lonesome Lake Trail with my foot issue and all so I'll just stay on it all the way to Kinsman Ridge Trail. About 50 minutes after starting out I reach Lonesome Lake and get my first views of the Kinsman's.
Heading to the right I cross over the bog logs and start the climb up Lonesome Lake Trail to Kinsman Ridge Trail. About half way up there are traces of snow leftover from the Halloween snowstorm. Reaching the next junction it's a right turn and up the Kinsman Ridge Trail to the top of Cannon. It starts out downhill for a short bit and then turns into a boulder trail heading up. Out comes my latest purchase, Kahtoola Microspikes! The boulders are icy and the climb is steep so traction is a necessity. Up the rocks I go and reach the top of Cannon Mountain 2 hours and 30 minutes after leaving the parking lot. I drop my backpack and take a quick trip over to the face of the mountain and I get a few shots of the highway and Franconia Ridge. Then back to get my backpack and I head up to the viewing tower. It is windy and the tower is covered in rime ice. Just a few short minutes on top of the tower and its back down to the trail.
Back down the trail I just came up keeping my spikes on. The trip down over the huge boulders goes much faster than I thought it would take. Reaching the junction I head straight this time climbing immediately up and over the Cannonballs. It is a pleasant walk through the woods and I eventually reach the next junction point with Fishin' Jimmy and Kinsman Pond Trails. After a quick refueling break and it's about a half mile left to reach the top of North Kinsman. The section of the trail just below the peak is much icier than Cannon with steep sections. As I am climbing up this part I am thinking to myself that this might be the last hike for the season considering the conditions I am seeing. I persevere and about 12:20 I reach the summit. A few shots, one of Franconia Ridge,
Gingerly and slowly I start back down from North Kinsman and make it through the icy sections and reach the intersection with Fishin' Jimmy Trail. Now I have read reports about this trail and it is nothing that stands out in regards to difficulty or anything like that and it is only 2 miles down to Lonesome Lake but this trail just never seems to end (kind of like this sentence). Maybe it was the foot slowing me down or the ice slowing my pace or the combination of the two. Anyways, two hours later I make it to Lonesome Lake and the view is awesome especially after that "long" hike down. One last shot of Franconia Ridge
Final numbers: 11.8 miles
9 hours and 10 minutes
# of peaks to date - 11.