Our little dog Emma completed her second round of the New Hampshire 4000 Footers Saturday. Afterwards she stopped in to see Steve Smith for a doggy treat and a pat on the head. Congratulations Emma! Thanks for taking us on all those hikes!
North Kinsman 4293’ and South Kinsman 4358’
10.2 Miles 3550’ Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
In March we set out to get the Kinsmans on our winter list. We were turned back at North Kinsman by high winds and blowing snow. After a very cold lunch in the trees just past the summit, we decided to forget the hike over to South Kinsman, it would be there another day. South Kinsman was left dangling there like the proverbial carrot for the rest of the year as we ticked off 18 other 4000 footers to bring the total for the year to 23. This brought Emma to the summit of each of the 4000 footers for the second time, with the exception of South Kinsman, so, this trip was for her. We made the hike from the west side of the mountains this time, using the Mount Kinsman Trail for the first time. On each of our previous trips we had hiked from Lafayette Place Campground to Lonesome Lake, then along the Fishin' Jimmy Trail to the Kinsman Ridge Trail to reach the summits. The hike from this side was a refreshing change which included a short side trip to Bald Peak, a small knob just west of the main trail which has an excellent view of the surrounding area. The foliage was past peak with the maples being mostly bare and the yellows of the birches and beeches dominating the colors. The day was gray and though the forecast was for the skies to clear, they never did. After watching Emma begin to limp after our last few hikes, we had started her on rimadyl for after hike pain management, but today, back in her element, the White Mountains, she didn't appear to have ever had any problem. The mountain air seems to shift her gears from aging dog to a 2 year old again. She went along the trails without a trace of limp and though she now stays closer to us and mostly on the trail she seemed to be her old self again. It really amazes me what this little dog has done with us, and we have truly been blessed to have had this little hiking partner just walk into our lives all those years ago. As if she knew why we were there, she led the way along the trail. She seemed anxious when we made the side trip to Bald Peak, as though she was aware that this was not our destination. "Come on! Let's go! I want to get to South Kinsman and celebrate with some jerky!" The dog is amazing. I know a lot of people don't think dogs belong out on the trail. We get a lot of snickers when people see a dog of her stature out climbing a four thousand footer. We've been scolded for taking her on long hikes above treeline, especially in the Presidentials. Let me tell you, this dog has never had a problem on any of these hikes. It is as though she was made for hiking in these hills and she is never happier than when she is along the trail. She got her 4000 footer patch at the same ceremony Brutus got his all season patch, and now she has done them twice. If she never gets them all in winter like Brutus it will be because of us, not her. Not bad for a dog the size of Brutus's head! She may never equal the feats of Tom and Atticus, but again, it will be because we are holding her back with our own inadequacies, not because of her own inability. I'm not sure if Brutus or Atticus ever climbed Huntington Ravine, but she did, twice! Maybe not too bright on my part for taking her there, but she undertook the challenge and came out shining both times. I'm sure along with Brutus and Atticus there are many other dogs who made amazing treks across these mountains, and now, I feel, Emma has earned a place among them. We certainly hope she is our trail companion for many more years, and we're sure she will amaze us along the trails on every outing. We can't express in words what she has meant to us, but to sum it up, no one could ask for a better little hiking buddy!