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Saturday, March 13, 2010

North and South Kinsman, March 13, 2010, winter 4Ks #19 and #20

Mt. Kinsman Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail, Bald Knob Spur (for Bald Knob).

About 10.4 miles roundtrip.

Our last hike of the 2009-2010 winter season! We were pleased to have MadRiver join us for this one, his company is always a pleasure.

The forecast called for warm temperatures and fierce wind up top, much like we had last weekend on Franconia Ridge. The trails to the Kinsmans are 99% sheltered, so we shrugged at the wind forecast and set off on a sunny, spring-like day.

The lower portion of the Mt. Kinsman Trail was a mixture of bare ground and thin ice...

The maple syrup boiling shed was interesting...if you peek through the locked door, you can see loads of stacked buckets inside...

Soon after the shack, the snow appeared and covered the trails in a proper winter fashion. We had no need of our snowshoes, however, as the path was completely packed all the way up.

It was easy going. The trail remained mostly moderate, with only a few steep sections to negotiate. We reached the intersection with the Kinsman Ridge Trail without incident.

Looking back on what we'd just ascended...

...and looking forward toward North Kinsman's summit...

We took a break here to eat, drink, and layer up. MadRiver adorned a great hat that his wife, Susan had discovered.

A short four tenths of a mile later, we were on the summit.

It was too windy to venture out onto the ledge. Instead, we enjoyed the view of Franconia Ridge from the shelter of the trees.

A nice fellow offered to take our picture (thank you!)...

After our traditional summit chocolate, we continued toward South Kinsman.

It was a fairly mellow 0.9 miles. We got to the first summit bump and snapped a photo.

The wind was now howling all around us. We forged on toward the next summit bump (the one most consider to be the true high point), trying hard not to be blown off the mountain. There were a few seconds when I thought we'd have to crawl, but we made it to the cairn walking upright, albeit leaning heavily. Once there, Alex could not stand, so I put her behind the cairn, a teensy bit out of the wind.

MadRiver came to join her for a summit photo, but the wind made it impossible for him to strike a normal pose. In this picture, it looks as though he's trying to keep his kilt from flying up (and Alex is covering her eyes in case he's unsuccessful).

Here's a video which gives a hint of the windspeed...please note that it's very jerky and therefore might make the viewer dizzy...

We didn't stay long up there! After only a few minutes, we struggled back into the trees and ate our customary chocolate near the col. On the way down, we were treated to this nice view of North Kinsman...

Once past North Kinsman, the descent was a breeze. Alex used her sled often, and we played leapfrog with a very nice AMC group all the way to the car.

We had passed the Bald Knob Spur on the way up, so we decided to check it out on the way down. We were happy we did, as the ledges were out of the wind and comfortable, and the views were fine.

The remaining two miles flew by and we were back at the parking lot in no time.

It's been a great winter season. Now, bring on the spring!

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