Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Hike on Cannon Mountain

The first day of the New Year and there was a hike planned for Cannon Mountain. I would be joining fellow hikers Jill, Larry, Amy and Jim. Our plan was a loop hike using the Lonesome Lake, Hi-Cannon and Kinsman Ridge Trails. There was a light dusting of snow last night after a recent heavy snowfall. We would make our decision of which way to go based on trail conditions. The weather forecast called for cold temps, breezy and partly cloudy skies.

Skies were clearing as I drove to the trailhead. Just past the Beaver Brook cross country ski trails I passed by a very large moose beside the road that quickly got my attention as it appeared suddenly. Moose are always exciting to see. I continued on and arrived at the Lafayette Campground around 8:15 AM. I was able to get a  good parking spot and waited for the others to arrive.

We planned on meeting at 8:30 but Larry and Jill got stuck behind a snowplow on the Kancamagus Highway, Amy and Jim had a long drive. Just after 9:00 we hit the trail. It was a short walk through a very snowy Lafayette Campground to the Lonesome Lake Trail. We arrived at the Hi-Cannon Trail and found the conditions to be very nice with a broken and nicely packed trail although the snow was somewhat loose. The decision was made to go up the Hi-Cannon Trail and descend on the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

We all started out with microspikes but it wasn't long before Larry, Jill and I decided to put on our snowshoes for some extra traction and to enjoy the televators that help to reduce calf fatigue on the steep parts of the trail. When we reached the infamous ladder we found the snowshoes would not allow us to safely ascend the ladder and we changed back to microspikes. The microspikes would stay on for the remainder of the hike.

Just before reaching the trail junction we had a beautiful view down to Lonesome Lake. The herd path across the frozen lake going to Lonesome Lake Hut could be seen, a shortcut for hikers this time of year. We continued on to the Kinsman Ridge Trail and it was a short hike to the summit from there.

We arrived at the top of Cannon Mountain and found the summit marker under the observation tower. The tower was covered in rime ice. Amy, Jim and I walked up to the tower platform for some great views. That was a challenge due to the ice and hardened snow that was on the steps. The microspikes stayed on. It was very windy on the platform so it was a quick visit for photos and a panoramic video then back down. There was a little less wind down below.

Had a quick snack then we started our descent. On the way down we took the Rim Trail out to where there were some spectacular views of Franconia Ridge. Back on the Kinsman Ridge Trail we continued our hike down. Just past the Hi-Cannon trail junction we began a very steep and very slick descent on the Kinsman Ridge Trail. There was a lot of tree hugging and butt sliding on this arduous section of the trail. We all made it past this steep descent unscathed. It felt good to have the trail level out a bit.

We turned onto the Lonesome Lake Trail and continued down to the lake. I had one little mishap when I inadvertently stepped off a bog bridge and did a faceplant in deep snow. No harm done, I brushed myself off and kept going. We stopped briefly at Lonesome Lake and got a group photo. Back on the trail we had an uneventful descent to the parking lot.

My last hike of 2016 and first hike of 2017 was on Cannon Mountain, I needed Cannon for December and January. It was an awesome day to be up in the mountains with a great group of hikers. I'm looking forward to another exciting year of hiking! Today's hike was a great way to start 2017!

Enjoy the photos!

Cannon Cliffs

Starting up the Lonesome Lake Trail

Heading up the Hi-Cannon Trail

Snowy Hi-Cannon Trail

Mount Liberty

Took the snowshoes off and put on the microspikes here at the ladder

Larry easily ascends the ladder

A view toward Franconia Ridge

Lonesome Lake

Jill and Amy were double dog dared

A frosty observation tower on the summit of Cannon Mountain

On the Rim Trail

Franconia Ridge

Enjoying the views

The tower on the summit

Starting the steep descent on the Kinsman Ridge Trail

Passing under one of my favorite unusual trees

Group photo on Lonesome Lake

A frozen Lonesome Lake

Lafayette Campground picnic table

Relaxing on a picnic table

Almost back at the parking lot

Looking up at where we were

One last look at Cannon Mountain after the hike

Sun and clouds on the drive home

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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