February 4, 2006
Cannon Mountain - White Mountain 48-4k Series
One more spectacular sunny and unusually warm winter hike for the 48-4K series.
The day was supposed to be cloudy with the possibility of rain. Not even the clouds showed up to inhibit the great viewing spots on this trip. Myself, Ed L, Dave B, and Chris H decided to go for it. The Kinsman trail starts at the Cannon Mountain Tramway parking lot; immediately climbing up very steeply. There was lots of erosion of the trail. This trail is showing its excessive use and is in need of serious maintenance.
The White Mountain Guide tells us that the Kinsman Ridge Trail travels for 2.0 miles to reach the Rim Trail, but gains 2100 feet in elevation. It wasn't lying. This trail gets right to it and is relentlessly aerobic. No rest for a big old mountain goat like myself.
Footing was a little difficult in spots, but did not require crampons nor snowshoes, it was pure slush in spots due to the sunny and abnormally warm weather. Before too long, decent views to the north are available, and Echo Lake quickly becomes your first vista focal point.
At 1.5 miles, our patience and effort were rewarded with a spectacular "outlook" of the Franconia Range, including Lafayette, Lincoln, and Little Haystack. From here the observation tower was clearly visible. We ate lunch and sun bathed in the warm February sun? We enjoyed the R & R and moved on toward the summit.
The Kinsman Ridge Trail is flat here briefly as it winds around a very small peak, descends, and begins the modest climb to the top of Cannon. We made our way up the rocky slope for about .2 mile when we merged with the Rim Trail. At this junction there is a bench and a pay binocular. A short walk and we reached the summit and the observation tower. We climbed the observation tower, and did some more sun bathing and enjoyed the views. The trip down was eventful for me because of the slush. Keeping my descent speed under control to avoid "sliding into home" and remaining vertical was impossible at spots. The total distance from beginning to end was about 4.4 miles and 2100 feet in elevation.