I’m back. That’s how I felt walking up the Kinsman Ridge Trail, ascending the side of Cannon from the Tramway area yesterday. I’ve been to the mountains only once in the past three weeks, due to a full-time yet temporary job. Now I realize that three weeks isn’t really a long time, but it did feel like it! Being back on the trail was like visiting an old friend and being back in a familiar place, with all the sights and smells just as you remember them.
The trail was about what I had expected from previous hikes, no surprises. The Kinsman Ridge Trail from the Tramway parking area to the summit of Cannon starts off at a moderate to steep grade and has all the variety of any White Mountain trail in the 2.2 miles to the summit. There’s deciduous trees, an eroded gully, dirt, rocks, roots, running water on rock slabs, mud pits, a moss, conifers and then a short exposed rock section.
On this hike, there was a breeze down below in the trees and I was pretty sure that meant higher wind speeds nearer to the top. Once I got to the outlook at the top of Cannon Cliffs, I knew that was guess was right. After adding extra layers and stepping out into the wind further up the trail, I was glad I did not leave the base layer tights at home. Earlier in the hike I had questioned why I chose to wear them. Now I was thankful for them and felt fully prepared for the weather. Granted, it wasn’t long before I was on the relatively protected Rim Trail, but it was nice to feel confident for once rather than a bit intimidated. It was still windy when I arrived at the top of the tower, so I opted to stay on the lee side of tower and enjoy the views to Vermont, with a few small adventures around the tower and into the wind to view the Franconia Range. Today I could see Camel’s Hump and Mansfield, plus a host of other peaks in Vermont.
After a quick break, I was ready to hike down the way I came up. Further down the trail, parallel to the ski trail, I saw my first hiker of the day who was headed out to the Kinsmans. We exchanged greetings and I continued my descent to the mixed forest, and enjoying the crunch of leaves under my feet after the rock hopping. Closer to the start of the trail, I saw my second hiker, a young lady who although she had seen the blue blazes, wanted to make sure she was on the trail. She explained that the arrow on the trailhead sign points the wrong way to the trail! The original (and wrong) arrow was previously covered with an arrow pointing the right way made of black electrical tape, but most of the tape is now gone.
Although it was just a quick hike to a familiar mountain, it was a good one because I’m back!