Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Up Over Back Over and Down the Kinsmans

Another decent day of summer weather and a great day to do a repeat hike of the Kinsmans with an interesting route. I joined fellow hikers Brian, Jill, Melanie, Lisa and Scott for a hike to North Kinsman (4,293') and South Kinsman (4,358'). The plan was to spot a car in Franconia Notch, drive around to Route 116 and ascend the Mount Kinsman Trail with a side visit to Bald Peak (2,470'). We would then continue up the trail and turn south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail passing over North Kinsman on our way to South Kinsman. Our trip back would take us down the Fishin' Jimmy Trail to Lonesome Lake and further down via the Lonesome Lake Trail to the Lafayette Place parking area and under I93 to the car spot. This would be a 10.4 mile hike.

It was a cloudy start to the day as I drove toward Franconia Notch. I've learned that clouds are not always a bad thing on a warm or hot day. We all met at the Cannon Mountain tramway parking area to figure out the logistics of the car spot. We left a car at the Lafayette Place parking lot and made our way over to the Mount Kinsman trailhead parking area on Route 116. We were soon on our way up the trail.

The air had some humidity in it making for a warm, sweaty hike. At 2.1 miles we turned off onto the spur path to Bald Peak. After a short 0.2 mile walk we were up on Bald Peak with a cool breeze to welcome us. There were beautiful views to the south and west. The clouds were high and we could see our next destination to the east, North Kinsman. We took a moment to relax, have a snack and take some photos. After a short break we were on our way again.

As we continued our hike up the Mount Kinsman Trail we soon came upon a very large uprooted tree. It almost looked like a wall beside the trail. I suggested that everyone get behind the root system and put their face up to one of the many holes. It made for a funny and unique photo!

Another 1.6 miles and we turned south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail. We climbed another 0.4 mile to North Kinsman Mountain. There is not much of a prominent summit here and we kept on going to our next and final summit of the day, South Kinsman. The trail dipped down onto a col then back up again. This summit can be confusing, especially in a heavy fog or cloud cover. I missed it the first time I hiked here and had to do a repeat in order for it to count as a 4,000 footer.

We reached the first clearing which could probably be called a false summit and continued on to the true summit. It is here that a large cairn is located that looks like a big chair with armrests. We took a break on the cloudy summit hoping there might be some clearing but it never happened. After a lunch break and a few photos it was time to start our trip back.

As we started back we could see the sun shining on North Kinsman. Arriving at the summit we dropped down to the outlook. There was a view to Lonesome Lake but Franconia Ridge on the other side of the notch was cloaked in clouds. We continued our hike down the Kinsman Ridge Trail turning onto the Fishin' Jimmy Trail.

The Fishin' Jimmy Trail went down over steep drops with plenty of ledges and large rocks to manuever over and around. There are wooden ladders and wooden steps to aid hikers making it an interesting trail to hike on. Another factor on this stretch of trail today was the rising humidity level making it very uncomfortable. After two miles of this obstacle course we arrived at the hut on Lonesome Lake.

We dropped our packs and went inside the hut to replenish our water bottles. After a short break and a snack we set out for the trip down the Lonesome Lake Trail to Lafayette Place, the final leg of our journey today. Even with a partly sunny sky the lake was beautiful as we hiked around to the other side. Even the partially cloud covered Franconia Ridge summits were looking spectacular on the other side of the notch.

It was a quick 1.2 miles down to the parking lot where our car spot was waiting. We all agreed, despite the cloudy views and sweaty humidity, that it was a great day of hiking and everyone enjoyed the route that we followed. A fun day was had by all!

Enjoy the pics!

Just before sunup as I start my drive

Sunup on the way to the trailhead

Mount Kinsman Trailhead

Peeking inside the sugar shack

Brian takes a look

Mossy cascade

Spur trail to Bald Peak

Lots of mushrooms

Unusual mushroom

Relaxing on Bald Peak

North Kinsman under a cloud cover

View from Bald Peak

Valley below Bald Peak

The flat ledge of Bald Peak

More mushrooms

I think I'm being watched

Large mossy rock

Bog bridge

Indian pipe


Not much further to Kinsman Ridge Trail

On the Kinsman Ridge Trail

Mushrooms of all sizes, shapes and colors today

Steep climb

Brian down below...sweating

South Kinsman in the clouds

The South Kinsman summit throne cairn

Relaxing on the summit of South Kinsman

More steep climbing

Lonesome Lake

Zooming in on Lonesome Lake

Returning on Kinsman Ridge Trail

Turning onto the Fishin' Jimmy Trail

Jill is a blur speeding down the Fishin' Jimmy Trail

Melanie, Lisa, Scott and Brian coming down over some ledge

Convenient bog bridge

Lots of helpful ladders along the way

Wet moss

Franconia Ridge

Lonesome Lake

The whole gang at Lonesome Lake

Cannonball overlooking Lonesome Lake

Lonesome Lake and Kinsmans in the distance

Storm clouds move in as I drive home

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

No comments:

Post a Comment