Cannon, Jan. 17, 2009 (without Alex)
Cut and pasted from my blog, http://trishgrid.blogspot.com/
Accompanying pictures can be found there.
Kinsman Ridge Trail, cutting over to upper ski slopes for last couple tenths of a mile.
About 4.4 miles roundtrip.
It was -22 degrees when I pulled onto I-93 to head north toward Cannon. My first seriously cold cold-weather hike.
Got to the tramway parking lot and geared up, then started up the trail.
There was a thin covering of snow over a well-packed trail, so I decided to save the snowshoes for later and microspike it. Since I was leaving inch footprints (at most), I felt I wasn't ruining the trail for others.
The first hour or so was very, very tough. Two reasons -- One: this trail is steep from the get-go and it never lets up. Two: It was COLD!!!! There was a point when I thought I should turn back....then I gave a peel-and-stick body warmer a try, and that made everything much, much better. They're like hand warmers, only you peel the backing off and stick it on your base layer, underneath your fleece. I put it right over my heart, and within 5 minutes I went from must-turn-back-now to fine-and-dandy.
Up I went...I had forgotten to take a picture at the trailhead when I first started out, so instead I took a picture of the left-over colors from sunrise, through the trees.
I almost lost the trail through the open-boulder area. However, a kind animal had walked on the trail practically the entire length of the trail...whenever I was unsure of the way, I would follow the path and soon see a familiar blue blaze.
My feet were now making the transition from footprint to posthole, so I donned the snowshoes and soon came to where the trail almost intersects one of the ski runs. At this point the animal tracks disappeared into the trees. Now, instead of taking the correct left, I took an accidental .1 mile diversion and ended up at the ski slope. Oops. I turned and started back down to find the trail again, and saw someone hiking up not far behind me. I called out to him, hoping he wasn't just following my tracks and therefore going off trail by accident.
Turns out the nice fellow was Jim Towle, one of the 8 people who has successfully completed the White Mountains "grid." He told me it was easier to just take the ski slope route from this point onward. In his company, I hiked back up to the slope and took a few pictures.
At this point, we both geared up a bit for wind, since we were now out of the trees. It really wasn't all that windy, but the bitter cold made even the slightest breeze intolerable (for me, anyway).
I encouraged Jim to go on ahead. He's a veteran hiker and I'm a newbie, and I told him it would take me a fair bit of time to get up there. He went ahead, and I followed at a much slower pace.
We kept out of the way of the skiers, staying to the sides of the run. I would take ten steps and rest for ten seconds, I was really beat. During one of my rest breaks, a group of skiers stopped nearby...and I heard the unmistakable voice of MadRiver. I called his name, but he didn't hear me and he skied away. The fellow behind him heard me, and asked who I was. I told him, and he introduced himself -- MichaelJ! MntnPa was the other skier in the group-- it really nice to run into you folks!
This group skied all the way down, came back up, and stopped by me again during the time it took me to move...maybe 20 feet? Did I mention I was really worn out by now?
I finally made it to the top. Jim was patiently waiting, and he walked me over to the summit. I stood on the official high point and took a couple of pictures. I chose not to climb the tower, as the steps were completely iced over...and did I mention I was tired?
Jim and I then hiked over to the ski-building near the summit -- which was open, something I wasn't counting on when I started my hike. So a nice surprise...I was able to sit down inside and warm up a bit. Jim and I chatted while we ate, then it was time to descend.
Going down was much easier than coming up. My only regret -- while still on the ski slopes, we were treated to a MAGNIFICENT view of Franconia Ridge. That picture of the ridge I posted earlier in this report...imagine that, without the trees in the way, filling your computer screen. It was beautiful, breathtaking, too gorgeous to properly describe. Why on earth didn't I take a picture?!?! Arg.
It took perhaps one hour to descend.
The descent went fairly uneventfully, except that a group of well-meaning-but-not-thinking skiers had picked up one of my poles and then lost it....I had stashed one of my hiking poles on the ascent, intending to pick it up on the descent. It had been placed in an obvious, propped up position. I believe the hiking protocol is to leave things like that be....these folks had picked it up, intending to take it to the building at the top. However, it fell off their pack and got lost in the snow....I never found it. I understand their initial intent was good, but I was pretty ticked off when they casually told me it had fallen off one of their packs into the snow...and that I could now consider it a treasure hunt. Dudes.....not cool. So I guess the lesson is not to stash things on a trail that non-hikers use on a regular basis. Again, the initial intent was good, but the casual "oops-I-lost-it-guess-you'll-have-to-find-it-ha-ha" attitude was NOT. Grrrrrrr. 'nuff said.
Just before we reached the trailhead, we ran into Feathered Hat, who was beginning his ascent. Nice to meet you!
Made it down, and I bade a fond farewell to Jim. I then made my way home, feeling exhilarated.
A great day in the mountains, as usual!
Last edited by TrishandAlex; 01-18-2009 at 03:53 PM.
Great TR as always Trish. Sure wish we'd gotten to see that view you described on the way down. Too bad you didn't get a pic I can only imagine Kinsman Ridge trail in winter. That was our first 4k in summer several years ago and I couldn't believe how steep it was. Surely a lot tougher on a freezing cold day in the snow.
Must have been really cool meeting Jim and hiking with him. A little more inspiration on your way to grid finish line...
Trish, I like that trail. Short and sweet to the summit. You're right, it climbs from the start and doesn't stop! Glad you had a good time, sorry about your pole. You should've said to the skiers who lost it, "give me one of your poles."
Great TR Trish. Sounds like it was pretty exhausting. Sorry about your pole but some people just don't get it. Well maybe another hiker will find it and after reading your report know who it belongs to and get it back to you. Thanks for sharing your hike with us. The pictures were great.
I've been informed that skier protocol is to take whatever is found to the lift area. I'm sure these guys thought they were doing the right thing at the time....I just didn't appreciate the "ha ha, we lost it" attitude. Oh well, serves me right for stashing something on a trail commonly used by non-hikers. Live and learn. That was the only negative thing on an otherwise fabulous day, so I probably shouldn't even have brought it up.
Cold on Cannon
Hats off to you. I can't imagine starting a hike when it's in the minus 22 degree range. BRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Enjoyed your report and pics. Hopefully, a kind person will return your pole.
My hat is off to you! That sounds like a tough way up Cannon! Congratulations on a great Winter 4K victory!!
p.s. isn't it *kinda* cool when you get to buy a cookie and hot cocoa at the top before heading back down??? I know, I know, I should be appalled.