A few days ago, I had a day to go hiking. Actually, it was the children’s first day of school and what better way for mom to celebrate than to go hiking? I know, that’s sort of lame, but any chance to get into the mountains is a good one, and it had been three weeks since I had been in the mountains between vacations and hurricane Irene. I chose Cannon because it was close enough to do before driving the afternoon carpool and because it was supposed to be a nice clear day.
A clear day was important because the first two times I’d hiked to Cannon, it was totally socked in with clouds. The first time was so bad that a hiking companion couldn’t see the tram station until we literally almost walked into it. We were also pretty damp and found out those super blast hand dryers in the bathrooms can dry out synthetic clothes pretty quick! The last time, in July with my son, wasn’t much better but at least it was warmer. This time, I was happy to see while driving up that there were no clouds on Cannon. It looked like it was going to be a nice day and that I might get some nice pictures.
I got to Lafayette Place, parked and got onto the trail. I decided to go up to Lonesome Lake, then take the Kinsman Ridge Trail up to the summit with a possibility of making a loop and going down the Hi Cannon Trail. I not only wanted to use the same trails I had used in July to see what effect hurricane Irene had on the trails, but also wanted check out the Hi Cannon Trail, which I had not been on in about 5 years. The trails overall were in pretty good shape. There were plenty of green leaves on the ground, and in some places you could tell some water had flown through and there was only one blowdown that I didn’t remember, but there was nothing unusual, such as a trail totally being washed out or a bank being undercut. The trail looked no worse than after spring melt, and most likely better in some places. It was also no wetter than I remember from previous trips – there are certainly are places where the trail can be soggy between Lonesome Lake and the Kinsman Ridge Trail.
I made good time up to the summit and in little less than two hours I was on the summit observation platform, and as luck would have it, just in a little bit of cloud. It was certainly a pretty good view, considering my previous trips. I could see down into Fraconia and Sugar Hill, and down the Franconia Notch as it went south toward Lincoln. Lafayette and the Kinsmans were in the clouds, so no views there, but I was happy to see Haystack, Liberty and other peaks south. Not perfect views, but maybe next time!
After almost a half hour break, I decided that the clouds weren’t going to lift and that the car wasn’t any closer, so I headed back down and decided to take the Hi Cannon trail down. This trail was just fine and I was able to stop at the viewing ledges and get a nice picture of Lonesome Lake. I was also able to check out the ladder, which from memory was pretty rickety near the bottom. I think it has been stabilized better in the bottom section, because it was pretty solid with no shaking on the last five or six rungs. After that it was a quick trip to the car, and I made it back by my goal time: noon.
Even though today’s views weren’t perfect, it didn’t matter as I was happy enough to be back in Whites and out on the trails. It was like coming home and seeing a familiar friend!