The time was ripe for a nice weekend hike two weeks ago. Prior to the big storm we just got in NE, the snow situation was getting a bit depressing.
We picked our target-Cannon, and packed for a two-day stay on Fraconia ridge. We started the hike along with a big group decked out in the latest and greatest REI gear, and set out at a steady pace for the AMC hut at Lonesome Lake. When we reached the Lake about an hour later, there were a number of other people gathered, like us, excited to be there. We could see the hut just peaking out from the trees across the lake.
We quickly got to the lodge to warm up, and drop our gear in a bunkroom, so we could start up the High Cannon trail to the summit. We knew we were in for a bit of an adventure when the only set of tracks ahead of us were a single trail of crampon points, though armed with microspikes, we steadily ascended.
Soon we burst out of the trees onto a cliff trail, ascending via worn 12+ ft ladder. The trail then flattened out through thick woods.
At the summit, it was cold. Blowing snow clung to the lookout tower, and the lifts on the Cannon resort side were nearly empty at 2pm. There was one other couple at the top, who kindly took our photo….12 times.
I tried getting a better look at the slides, across the notch, but they looked pretty gnarly. Hopefully the situation is quickly changing this week.
As soon as we started the descent, we were excited about the thought of warming up at the hut, but the trail made for very slow going. Water ice covering the steep trail met us at every turn, causing me to bushwhack around more than once.
We decided to mosey back to the hut rather than continue to North Kinsman, due to the fact I’d heard of no fewer than 4 separate groups saying they’d attempted the trail and were turned back.
Back at the lake we snacked and watched some kids play on the ice. The hut was Catherine’s favorite part. It was filled with Boy Scouts playing games, their leaders, one other couple, and a very over prepared group of eight. We shared food, exchanged stories, and generally had a great time. The lone caretaker was hard at work, providing hot water and keeping things moving.
In the un-heated bunk-rooms we threw on layers and arranged my assortment of sleeping bags, since neither of us own a winter bag. Luckily it worked out, and in the morning we rolled out of back, had a hearty breakfast with some warming tea, and headed out.
The morning brought clear skies and warmer temps, making for a beautiful hike out.