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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Hillstomping Update: Kinsman Pond

Had a great snowshoe hike up North Kinsman the Friday after Christmas. On Christmas Day, Wednesday, we got a thick blanket of snow and Friday was a perfect day for snowshoeing: the snow had settled for two days, clear blue skies and chilly, about 20°F at the base, maybe 10°F at Kinsman Pond. Total mileage about 7½. You can check out all the pictures from this hike here.

snow path--click for larger viewGoing up the Lonesome Lake trail, the snow was well packed from all the hikers going to the Lonesome Lake hut and you hardly needed snowshoes. At Lonesome Lake, I had spectacular views of the south side of Cannon Mountain and the ever-majestic Franconia Ridge.

But going up the Fishin' Jimmy trail to Kinsman Pond was a whole different deal. A few intrepid souls had ventured about a third of the way up and packed the trail a little bit but turned back when the trail began its steep ascent to the pond. From that point on I was bustin' powder. A couple of times, I had to claw my way up sheer rock faces. I almost turned back more than once but caught my breath long enough to keep going. As I ascended, the temperature kept dropping and it got so cold that the water in my hydration tube froze solid. It would've been funny if I weren't so damn thirsty. I could have removed the hydration bladder from my pack and drank directly from it but the problem is when it's that cold outside, you start to chill as soon as you stop moving. The thought of standing still for several minutes, fumbling around with my water bladder with numb fingers didn't appeal to me much so I just sucked on some snow and kept going.

North Kinsman from Kinsman Pond--click for larger viewAfter more than an hour of busting through three feet of fresh powder and scrambling over vertical, snow-covered boulders, I saw the Cascade Brook trail junction sign. By then, even Ouzo was feeling it. A little further beyond that was Kinsman Pond, from which I had a spectacular view of North Kinsman. There were two guys camping out at the Kinsman Pond campsite. They'd come up the Cascade Brook trail the day before, breaking snow the whole way. That's hard core!

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