September 5, 2010

The Kinsmans

The Kinsman hiking crewThis weekend, Katy and I decided to continue our assault on the 4000 footers by taking a single day trip up to Franconia Notch to summit the peaks of North Kinsman and South Kinsman. This time, however, we brought friends. My sister, Maureen and Katy's sister Anne both took us up on our invitation to join us. When we were getting ready to leave in the morning, Maureen dubbed the outing "Take your sister to hike day".

Since Labor Day weekend is always a popular time for hiking in the White Mountains, we were hoping to get an early start. The route we selected to climb the Kinsmans starts at the Lafayette Place campground which is also the trailhead for the loop trail up Mounts Lafayette and Lincoln, one of the most popular hikes in all of New England. The lot was filling up quickly when we arrived at 8:30AM, but we easily found a spot and were geared up and on the trail at about 8:45AM. The weather was partly cloudy and in the upper 50s at the trailhead, and the forecast looked pretty reasonable for the rest of the day with only a slight chance of a shower. We were off.

Triple Ninja jumpThe first mile and a half of the hike was a repeat effort of the first section of our climb up Cannon Mountain. We hiked out to the Lonesome Lake, and this time made it to the Lonesome Lake Hut and stopped for a break and a snack. After being warned of colder weather and windy conditions at the Kinsmans' summits by one of the hut's caretakers, we headed back out and continued onward. The trail to the summits was fairly rugged and quite steep in some sections, but overall in good condition and straightforward to navigate. We reached the peak of North Kinsman at the four mile mark and were treated with some great views across to the Franconia Ridge despite the cloud cover. After a quick break and some lunch we continued on to South Kinsman at the five mile mark where the temperature was quite a bit colder and breezy, but not terribly windy. After taking in some similar views, we turned around for the trek back to the car.

We arrived back at the car after our knee pounding descent at about 4:15PM, seven and a half hours total for the ten miler. Overall it was a great day and fun to bring Anne and Mo out for their first two 4000 footers! And finally, proof that Katy and I made it up North Kinsman, and South Kinsman.

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