November 26, 2011. Today there are two goals to attain. First is to return to knock off a mountain that I should have achieved two weeks ago. That was the attempt to do Cannon, North Kinsman and South Kinsman but had to abandon the latter due to concerns of running out of daylight. The second goal is to see if I can handle two days of hiking in a row. Yesterday was 10.2 miles and three peaks, today I am going to climb two peaks also being 10. 2 miles long (just a coincidence not planned). Only one mountain will count towards my 48 4000 list as I have already done North Kinsman but have to go over it to get to South Kinsman. I will also be approaching them from a different trail. This time the trailhead is located off of Route 116 just southwest of Cannon Mt.
The usual start time for me, up at 3:30 am and out the door after 4ish, at the trailhead by 6:30 and on the trail by 6:45. Would have been on the trail earlier but couldn't find the trailhead parking lot as it is not signed. Once I found it I was hesitant to pull into it as it is not plowed and there was a few inches on the lot with the road plowed in at the entrance. I always take the car for hiking and decided to take a straight shot at driving through the snow mound and made my way into the lot. Pulled straight in and rocked the car back and forth a few times to pack down the snow so that I would be able to get back out at the end of the day. A few minutes for putting on the equipment and off on the trail at 6:45.
The beginning of the trail started out uneventful and pretty much snow less in the woods. As nothing has had a chance to really freeze up yet the trail was quite wet and squishy from the snow they got a few days ago. About a half hour after starting I came upon a spot on the trail that was very interesting, the snow line. All of a sudden there was snow on the ground and in back of it there was no snow.
45 minutes later I make it to the Bald Peak Spur and the tracks in the snow no longer continue on the Mt Kinsman Trail. The snow is about 6 inches and has been untouched and it is time for me to put on my snowshoes and break trail. Almost all the way up there was only one other set of tracks on the trail, some type of cat, not kitty, going up the trail sometime the day before or earlier this morning. One of the nice features of hiking in the snow, getting to see all types of animal tracks and wondering what they are. So the first 2 miles to the Bald Peak Spur took about an hour and fifteen minutes. However the next 1.6 miles would take me almost two hours to get to the junction with Kinsman Ridge Trail. Not sure if it was the trekking through the virgin snow with the snowshoes or if it was the fact that I am hiking two days in a row. Whichever it was it seemed like a long time before I made it to the junction. Another 30 minutes and I make it back to the top of North Kinsman. It's one of those foggy days and the views are limited in regards to distances. The Franconia Ridge is about as far as one can see, nothing else beyond that distance.
South Kinsman is just under a mile away and that trip takes only 45 minutes. There are two peaks on South Kinsman with the north knob being the accepted high point. It is one of those strange anomalies because as you stand on the north knob and look towards the south knob the south looks higher. After spending about ten minutes at both knobs it was time to head back the way I came. Off with the snowshoes as the trail between the two Kinsman was pretty well tracked out. Love the snowshoes but move a lot faster without them. Within two hours I make it back to Bald Peak Spur junction, and decide to take the side trip over and see what it is.
Note that the trail sign says .2 miles to the peak. Have the hardest time with distances, at one point I thought I was on the Peak because it was a big ledge but had no views. Not knowing what to expect nor having read about this side trail I wasn't sure. But the trail blazes kept appearing ahead of me so I continued until finally reaching the end. What a great spot this was and man was I glad I made the decision to take this little spur. This is exactly as it's name entails, BALD. The only thing that would have been better is a crystal clear day with lots of views.
Spending a few minutes there and it was off again this time no more stops until the car. The bottom of the trail was in much worse condition than in the morning as quite a few people had been on the trail mostly heading to Bald Peak. Very muddy and wet and by the time I arrived at the car at 3:00 my feet were soaked through. Another great hike and I really did not feel any effects from hiking two days in a row. Time to head home and, yes, Chinese food!
Final numbers: 10.2 miles, 8 hours and 15 minutes, 1 peak, # of peaks to date - 17.