Hiking/Trekking Jeanne & Peter


Cannon Mtn

Posted on April 28th, 2014
by PeterD in Hikes

Monorails and Post Holes – that’s all I could think of. But I get ahead of myself.

As with any early/late season hike, the weather always requires an extra bit of attention.   The day before had been light/unsettled rain in Boston, but the outlook for Sunday showed a bit of improvement – and this being our first hike of the season, we weren’t going to let a bit of weather get in our way!

GPS trax

Check out the full track at EasyTrail.com

Off we went, arriving at the NH visitors center in Lincoln, NH just before 9am – our traditional ‘last pitstop’ before a hike.  The sun was in and out of the clouds and the thermometer was already pushing high 40′s – not bad.  Refreshed, we drove another 10 minutes north to ‘The Notch’ to park in the Lafayette Place Campground parking lot – the trailhead for the Lonesome Lake Trail.

But in that 10 minutes, the skies turned full-on gray and a misty rain began falling. The temperature also dropped to the lower 40′s – so typical of Notch weather!  And while we’d expected something like that and came prepared with our rain jackets and extra layers for the cooler temperatures, it was pretty cold and clammy getting out of the car and getting geared up.

We kept telling ourselves – we’d hiked in this sort of weather before – not bad with the proper gear – just wet.  Though the few mounds of snow in the woods were a bit of a premonition!

While we could have chosen a much shorter route – we opted for the longer, and more gradual Lonesome Lake trail, taking it a bit easy for the first hike of the season.  So, after ‘gearing up’, we headed for the trail, but not before a few pictures in the parking lot.

Starting Out - smiles

There’s a smart hiker!

Trailhead - light rain

Note the smiles!

The hike was really two separate hikes – the first, a relatively easy jaunt up to Lonesome lake, and the second, some fairly rugged trailblazing to the peak and back to the lake.

The grades on the trip to Lonesome Lake were fairly mild, and the footing good, made easier by the packed snow in the center of the trail. While we put on our microspikes (Yaxtraks) fairly early, hiking on hardpack snow is easier than the rocks in the summer because much of the terrain is smoothed by the snow. At the lake, we met up with a few other hikers who’d just been to the hut (open in winter) and heard of a large crowd – so at the trail junction, we just decided to continue on.

No sooner had we left the junction that we realized we were trailblazing. There’d been some recent snow (perhaps the night before), but no fresh footprints, so the next 1.9 miles to the summit were all us. Heading around the lake, careful to avoid the “post holes” (when someone’s leg goes thigh-deep into the softer snow off the trail!), we started the gradual ascent to the Kinsman Ridge trail. The going wasn’t bad, and the fresh snow-ball snow provided some better footing on what was likely some icy patches.

Heading right when we reached the junction at Kinsman Ridge, we were headed for the most difficult part of the hike. A section they say to avoid during winter. You can see why in the photo on the right!

Getting close

Not much further

Ice and snow

Time to pause and consider.

Again, the snow-ball snow really helped out, though so did the many trees and roots – frequently providing a (wet) hand-hold to assist with footing – though the icicles really caused a moments pause – this was pretty formidable.

Undaunted, we continued, fortunately this was the most difficult section with the trail leveling out shortly afterward, bringing us to the tower atop Cannon Mountain. We didn’t really hang around at the summit – it was pretty cold and snowy – though we did take the “Rim Trail” over to the Tramway house, pausing at a finished granite bench with the inscription:

“If you love someone, tell them.
Most importantly, stay close to your friends, let it make a difference in your day and theirs.” – Jerry Warlop

The view from the bench must be fantastic, though with all the clouds, we didn’t see anything but gray. So we continued to the Tram house and found it closed – you’re probably getting the picture that it was pretty desolate at the top of Cannon – it was!.

Forty One!

Yeah! Forty One (in the snow!)

We quickly headed back in the direction we came, deciding to descend by the same route we took up, rather than do more trailblazing on the way down. The falling snow stayed with us for quite some time, partially covering our footprints from our ascent. Peter managed to “post hole” twice, once into some water as we returned to the area around Lonesome Lake.

And by the time we reached the lake, the snow was turning to the same misty rain we’d started with, though the slight rise in the temperature was enough to make the going slushy as we descended to lower altitudes and eventually a muddy trail.

It was a good day out! Maybe still a bit early in the season to really ‘enjoy’, but we were outside and added number forty-one to our list.

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