What can I say about the reasons for this hike? I wanted to bag these peaks in winter, but with the holidays, family and other hiking opportunities, all that was left if I really wanted to add them to my winter list, and also finish all the NH48 in a calendar year was to hike them on the 31st. The weather was not forecast to be the greatest, but my husband said he’d come out and hike with me anyway. That’s a great man for you and I’m grateful for him and his patience with my crazy hiking ideas!
The parking lot for the Mt. Kinsman Trail wasn’t the greatest, but even with my husband’s smaller Subaru, we were able to get ourselves parked relatively well. We were happy to see that the trail was broken out, so we put on the snowshoes and started up the trail in light snow. The first portion of the trail was relatively gentle and the grade increased a bit near the brooks. We arrived at the Bald Peak spur junction, having a pretty nice morning so far. We’d both been on this trail before and we knew above the spur junction the grade would eventually increase as we approached the ridge. We did encounter some fresh powder on the previously broken out trail after the spur junction, so that slowed us down a bit. It wasn’t much powder, but enough to be some extra work.
We were making slow, but steady progress and closer to the ridge, we added some layers as we started to be able to feel the wind. We finally made it to the ridge and headed for North Kinsman. Once there, it was on to South Kinsman. Since it was really getting cold and the windchill making it feel colder, with no views to speak of, South Kinsman was quickly tagged, photographed and left behind.
The cold was starting to really sap our energy, so we knew that getting back to the Mt. Kinsman Trail and into the trees was a good idea. It was once again slow but steady progress up and over North Kinsman and back to the trail junction. We started to see other groups along the way, and exchanged trail info and New Year’s greetings.
Once back on the Mt. Kinsman Trail,out of the wind and into warmer temperatures we were relieved and started to pick up the pace to the car. The fact that the clouds seemed to be lifting a bit and the trees were laden with snow creating a winter wonderland didn’t hurt our spirits, either. I actually enjoyed the scenery on the way down, much more than the crunchy rime ice on the ridge trees which on this day seemed more threatening than the soft, pillowy snow in the woods.
This hike certainly had some hike and low points, and not in the usual places. Usually, the summit is the high point of the day, with the thrill of making it to the top and enjoying the views. On this hike, the weather wasn’t perfect, making the summits difficult and not a place to linger, certainly some low points. Later in the hike, on the way out, came the high point of the day, just enjoying the beauty of the winter woods with my husband hiking along with me.