From the title, you’ve already got the end of the story, but I can at least fill you in the rest of the details from my perspective! With a nice long holiday weekend, Ethan decided it was time to finish his New Hampshire 4,000 footers list. Cabot was the remaining peak, but due to the very long drive up to the York Pond trail head, it got put off until later in the list. Our original plan was to hike on Friday, but after checking the weather, we decided on Wednesday night to get up really early and do the hike the next day.
Our packs were ready the night before, so it was a relatively quick matter to put on the hiking clothes and get out the door. With one stop at Dunkin Donuts for a quick bite to eat on the way up, we were on our way. Franconia Notch looked good on the way up and the fog we had been driving through was starting to break up. After a couple of hours, we arrived, driving past the fish hatchery and right to the York Pond Trail. We saw a few other cars come in after us, but we wouldn’t see any of the occupants until later in the hike. There was still quite a bit of cloud cover, but we figured it wouldn’t be a problem.
We quickly finished up the last pre-hike details and got on the trail. Immediately we encountered a jungle of plant growth, most of which was taller than both Cameron and I. Along with the all the plants there were flies, mosquitos and their kin. They weren’t actually biting too much, but they were buzzing right near our ears. We quickly covered the distance to the left turn out of Bunnell Notch, up and away from the foliage and a good majority of the insects. The sky was overcast, but the forest was a welcome sight, a bit of relief from the foliage and bugs. We moved along up the Bunnell Notch trail, stopping every now and again for a breather, but making steady even progress up the trail. Eventually we came to the Kilkenney Ridge Trail junction, by which point we had hiked up into the clouds. This wasn’t a problem, because it kept us cooler than if the sun had been beating down on us. There were large puddles at the junction, which continued the theme of mud and water we encountered on the trail from the previous few day’s rainstorms. Cameron and I agreed there was less standing water than when we hiked Cabot last May.
Continuing on Kilkenny Ridge trail from the junction, we knew that the trail could be mentally divided into smaller sections based on landmarks along the way and it really didn’t seem like too long before we reached each one. While at the Bunnell Rock overlook, two hikers caught up to us. It was nice to chat with them up the last section toward the cabin and it certainly helped the time go by more quickly. At the cabin we took a quick break before the last small section toward number 48 for Ethan. Then we made quick work of the last .4 of mile or so to the summit. As we neared, we could hear voices. They were from the two hikers from earlier, plus two more who had come up the Unknown Pond Trail. All offered their congratulations as Ethan reached the summit. We took pictures and even went over to the other sign, a much smaller sign on another tree, probably the true high point of Cabot.
Back at the cabin, we sat and ate a well-deserved lunch, then prepared for the descent back to the car. The descent was a bit tricky at the beginning with the many wet rocks and wet areas, but the more we descended, the better the footing became and soon we were cruising along back to the car. The sun was now shining and it was getting a bit hot, so we were thankful to be on the way out, rather than on the way in! The jungle-like section was pretty humid, but we knew the end was not too far away and since it was relatively flat we moved right through. Arriving at the car, we were happy with the hike and Ethan seemed pleased and relieved to have finished the list. It was a great hike, with a lot to be thankful for. Cameron and I were happy to to be along for the hike and to see Ethan finish the list since he has been so supportive of Cameron and I and all of our hiking.
Congratulations, Ethan! Now you can go redlining!