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Monday, October 13, 2008

North Kinsman (#16) and South Kinsman (#17), Lonesome Lake overnight, Oct.11-12, 2008

Lonesome Lake Trail, Cascade Brook Trail, Fishin' Jimmy Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail.

10 miles roundtrip, Lonesome Lake overnight.

Our hike started as a group effort -- our good friends were visiting from Massachusetts, and they accompanied our family up to Lonesome Lake. Here are Figgy (the dog), Noelle, Alex, Thomas, Sage, Hugh, Alexander and Tim. Sage had fallen asleep in the car and was awoken just before this picture was can tell she would rather be sleeping...

Hugh and I took turns carrying Sage up to the Lake. Keeping a very sleepy Sage happy took most of our efforts, so the trail itself was a blur. My fleeting impressions were that it was moderately steep and relentless. Noelle took my pack and carried it for me (now THAT'S a friend!!!) so I could take better care of my youngest -- I can't imagine how tough it would have been with my pack AND with Sage. It was tough on Hugh too, for the same reasons -- if anyone wants to make a hike a lot harder than it needs to be, wake up your sound asleep 3 year old just before you start and then proceed to carry the understandably cranky child most of the way.

Alex wanted to take the "junction" pictures. Here's Sage, myself and Thomas underneath the sign at the intersection of the Lonesome Lake Trail and the Hi-Cannon Trail.

And here's the sign itself...

We reached the Cascade Brook Trail, and Alex agreed to let me take her picture with the boys while Sage now happily ran about (she was now finally, fully awake).

Alex took the following picture of the neighboring trail signs.

She then asked for us all to gather round, so she could take our picture. Here's our motley crew, the angel Noelle among them...I am forever grateful to her for carrying my pack to this point!!

Our friends went ahead of us, curious to see the hut. We took a water break, then continued onward. Sage was chipper at this point, and she happily ran on the flat planks of wood that were covering the muddy sections of the trail. 0.3 miles later, we came to the Fishin' Jimmy Trail.

We continued onward, over a short little bridge toward the hut.

Here's the sign pointing up to the hut itself.

And...we're there!

The hut was lovely, much more intimate than Lakes of the Clouds. We went to our (private!) room. Here's the view from just outside our door.

Here's our bunk room, with two cheerful girls inside it.

Happy sisters (which is how they are 90% of the time, we're very blessed)...

Our friends came up and visited for a bit, then they headed back down toward the campground and their car (they weren't staying the night). After they left, we went down to Lonesome Lake and relaxed until it was time for dinner.

Alex took a couple of pictures...

Sage wanted to take a picture too...

Dinner was scrumptious. Pumpkin soup (very yummy!!), turkey and rice with gravy, salad, corn, and apple pie. We went right to bed afterward.

The kids slept eleven straight hours, and only truly woke up about halfway through breakfast (a filling meal consisting of Cream of Wheat, pancakes, and bacon).

After we finished eating, Alex and I bid Hugh and Sage adieu. Here we are at about 7:45, about to head up the Fishin' Jimmy Trail toward the Kinsman summits.

Now I had heard and read all kinds of nasty things about this trail, and I had relayed this information to Alex. So when we began, we both fully expected a gnarly, rough roller coaster. We had mentally prepared ourselves for a terrible time. So imagine our surprise when the first half was very, very tame. The initial .3 miles are practically flat.

The remainder of the first half has three or four very minor ups and downs, no big deal (compared to what we had been imagining). Here's one minor "up"

and its subsequent "down."

Alex took this nice picture of a heart-shaped rock, which we found immediately after the above-pictured "down."

After the little ups and downs, we came across this lovely mossy brook.

We ambled along, then crossed another brook which roughly marks the halfway point of this trail. Immediately afterward, the climb became steep.

Steep, steep, up up up. That's the last half of the Fishin' Jimmy Trail. Provided quite the work-out -- but Alex and I moved quickly, having mentally prepared ourselves for something much worse than what we actually faced.

Way, way faster than I had anticipated, we found ourselves at the top of this trail, near the Kinsman Pond campsite.

We had gone up the 1.8 miles of Fishin' Jimmy in an hour and a half. I was amazed at ourselves.

We continued onward, now on the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

The final few tenths of a mile to the North Kinsman summit were quite steep. Felt like more of the Fishin' Jimmy. Views were opening up though, so at least we had some nice scenery.

And here we are, at the nondescript North Kinsman summit.

Just past the high point, there's a ledge where one can enjoy a nice view of the Franconia Ridge.

There's an even nicer viewpoint a teeny bit further down from where we stood at that point, but we didn't check it out until the return trip. Those pictures will come later in this entry.

Onward we went toward South Kinsman. The ridge trail went down steeply for a few tenths of a mile, then was flat for a bit, then went moderately up for another few tenths of a mile. Here we are, on the false summit of South Kinsman.

Some 20-30 yards further onward, there's a summit cairn. Actually, depending on which guidebook you read, either one of these points could be the actual summit. Doesn't matter to us, since we visited both. And -- we made it to this cairn at exactly 11am. Which means it only took us 3 and a half hours to ascend both summits from the hut. That's practically book time! Seems like both of us are getting faster as our hiking experience grows.

Lovely 360 degree views here.

We ate some cookies...

and then Alex took a couple of pictures...

We chatted with a few other hikers who showed up at the summit while we were snacking, and then we headed back toward North Kinsman. I snapped this photo of North Kinsman while we descended into the col.

Once back at North Kinsman, we decided to check out a ledge we had not yet visited. We stepped out onto it, and there was Happyhiker taking a rest. It was really nice to see her. I took a few pictures of the views, and then Alex did the same. The following pictures are some of the ones she took.

Up to this point, Alex and I had been mostly affectionate with each other, but there had been a few instances of typical limit-testing behavior from Alex. My patience was waning with my energy, so I began snapping at her. This, in turn, caused her to react in a natural (not-so-positive) fashion. So unfortunately for Happyhiker, Alex and I had some cranky moments with each other on the hike back down. My apologies, Happyhiker. You experienced some lovely examples of mother-daughter static, and I'll take the blame -- I should have been much more patient and not snapped at her so much.

We made it back to the trailhead in fine shape, though I must admit I was more worn out than Alex. Next year I may have some serious trouble keeping up with her.

Alex wanted to take our picture, but I made her wait until I had taken pictures of everyone first. In retrospect, that was stupid and selfish on my part -- I should have let the kid take the first picture...instead I got myself involved in a power struggle....bad mom. Anyway, her expression below is a reflection of her annoyance at my telling her to wait and take the last photo.

Here's Alex's picture of Happyhiker and myself.

Except for the last half of the descent (mother-daughter static), this was a great hike. I'm very proud of both of us, we did this much faster than I thought we would. Happyhiker was a great addition to our descent.

Alex and I spoke with each other at length later that evening and worked through our various feelings. As a parent, sometimes I've no idea whether I'm being too lenient, too harsh, or spot-on. We do talk a lot after tense moments have passed, though...I think that helps.

Back to hiking -- we look forward to the next one! Alex always asks when the next hike is .. even with banal mother-daughter issues she still loves to get out there with me. She's a great kid, and I'm lucky to have both her and Sage.

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