A previous attempt at the Kinsmans was cut short at Lonesome Lake due to what I think was a touch of some nasty bug that was going around. Disappointed, we decided to come back on St Patty's Day, since it would still count as winter for Rick. I still needed it for my basic 48. For some reason I have come to dread the Lonesome Lake Trail, and never seem to do well on it. It's short and not all that bad, but I seem to have a hard time and get whipped easily. So we had decided to go in from the Basin Cascade trailhead instead.
We hit the trail from the Basin parking lot at 8am. I like to start out at 7am no matter what trail we do, but the days are longer and sleep is something I value a lot these days! We made it the half mile to the brook crossing, and decided that there was no easy way across, as the snow/icy bridges were all melting quickly and there was too much water running too fast. Off to Lonesome Lake it was! Back onto 93 S (Franconia Notch Parkway), turn around, back up 93 N, turn around, back to Lafayette Campground. While getting the packs out of the car, I realize my camera (that I borrowed from my other half!!) was missing! I panicked a little as I realized that I put it on the bumper back at the Basin while we were getting the packs back in the car. We went back down 93 S to the Basin parking lot. Not there. While pulling out of the lot, I saw it laying in the middle of the road. If you've every been through the notch, you know that there is NO good place to pull over and get out on the parkway, but I wasn't concerned about that at the time. I retrived the camera, found that all was well, and headed back down 93 S, back up 93 N, back down to Lafayette Campground again....
So, we didn't start up to Lonesome Lake till 9:30. Much later than I ever like to start a hike. The hike up wasn't bad, still just as steep as I remember, but I wasn't too whipped. It got warm in a hurry, it was already 50 when we left the parking lot! We took a quick break at the hut, where it was tempting to sit in that adirondack chair on the deck and drink my hot beverage with a splash of St Patty's day cheer in it and bask in the sun. But , we had a mission, so onward we went onto the Fishing Jimmy Trail. Now, I haven't heard all great things about this trail, but was hoping that because it was winter and there was still snow, maybe the 'ruggedness' of the rocks etc wouldn't be so bad. Starting out if was a great trail, not at all what I was expecting. But, soon, as is usually the case, it turned into a white mountain hiking trail. The ice started, flowing over rocks, under the snow on the trail, and anywhere it seemed to have wanted to go. We had some interesting scrambles up and down over ice covered rocks and trail sections. We came to one, what I'll call GIANT, ice flow, that I took a picture of Rick on top of. Only then did I realize that it was the trail. No other way around. So, up we went, slowly and cautiously.
We met a few groups of people headed up that day. One guy was hiking his first official 4K, while a group of 3 college guys were defied gravity and good sense, hiking in street sneakers with no traction, cargo pants and T shirts and school type back packs. Somehow they still beat us up and down the mountain. I have no idea how they made it through the ice sections, as I had microspikes and still had some issues. Oh, to be 19 again....
By the time we reached the shelter at Kinsman Pond, I was convinced that I would not go back down the Fishing Jimmy Trail. I knew my head would get the best of me and I would not be able to navigate some of the icy sections. I even thought that a 2 mile walk down the snowmobile trail back from the Basin would be better. In the end I sucked it up and managed just fine (most of the time) on the FJ. We made it to the top of N Kinsman around 2:30. It was a little late in the day, as far as I was concerned, to try to make it over to S Kinman and back without it being dark. We hung out on N Kinsman for a while, taking pictures and enjoying the rediculously fabulous weather, before deciding to take on the icy head on.
We left the summit around 3:00, stopping at Lonesome Lake on the way down for a much deserved break, and made it to the car by 6. We would have been cutting it close had we included S Kinsman, and I was wiped by the time we hit the car.
I don't have a strong desire to visit the FJ trail any time soon, or ever again really. We may do S Kinman from the other side. Or from the Basin when the water is low or we can cross barefoot.
Overall it was a great day for a hike. The hike out was much more work that anticipated. The snow was very soft and wet. just like mashed potatoes. There was a lot of sliding, and lowering myself through icy sections using nearby (or not so nearby) trees and roots. I'm sore today, but glad we at least got one more off the list! One of these years we'll learn that warm weather makes for bad snow, but until then, the mountain awaits! Sorry, no pics, they are on the home computer. Great views for the day tho!