Friday, February 20, 2015

Cannon Mountain. February 18, 2015

It was so nice to get back on the trails again!  The girls took a break from hiking during January and the first part of February so they could downhill ski.  We used to have time to both ski and hike during the week, but, as the kids get older, they have more and more schoolwork and they become more and more involved in each of their extracurricular activities.  Choices have to be made in order to fit everything in -- since the girls hike year-round, it made sense to temporarily trade in the hiking boots for the skis.

Now, however, ski lessons are over, so we are hitting the trails again.  Both girls want to revisit 4Ks for a while, so we'll likely ascend the traditional NH48 peaks until the snow melts...then we'll go through as much of our own Terrifying 25 list as possible before heading out to Idaho to attempt Borah Peak.  We'll also hike a bit on the Great Wall of China during the summer -- I look forward to writing about that when we return as I have never before been to Asia.

On to the trip report!

Kinsman Ridge Trail.  Just over 4 miles round-trip with 2100 feet of elevation gain.

It was about 4 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived at the parking lot Wednesday morning.  No worries, though -- Kinsman Ridge Trail is moderately steep from the get-go, and it stays that way for most of the hike.  We knew we'd be plenty warm after five minutes of hiking uphill in snowshoes.  We therefore set out in thin layers and kept the large coats in my pack.

Up we went.  We made good time, considering we hadn't hiked in eight weeks.  The day was bright and clear, and we enjoyed the snow-laden views.

We reached the intersection with the unofficial ski entrance (on the way down, we'd see a mother and teenage daughter zoom through this area and head down the hiking trail on skis) and took the sharp left to continue toward the ridge.  The trees in the section were burdened with snow -- it was beautiful, yet gently threatening...miraculously, not one of us ended up with the cold wet stuff on our heads or down our backs.

We reached the viewpoint -- the temps were in the low teens and the wind was merely a breeze, so there was no danger of frostbite.  Still, the air was cold on our faces, so the girls made good use of their balaclavas.

You can see the summit tower from the viewpoint --

Up we went...

Summit!  The most difficult part of the day's hike was ascending those ice-covered stairs...but we made it.

Alex and Sage on Cannon, with Franconia Ridge behind them

Trish, Alex, and Sage on Cannon,
with Franconia Ridge in the background
We took the path less traveled to the summit cafe (Cannon is a ski mountain, so there's a snack shop up top).  The girls had fun stomping through the drifts.

We ate, we drank hot chocolate, we headed back down.

I made the girls wear their heavy coats for the descent.  Going down always feels colder than going up, since you're not working as hard.  Also, the girls wanted to sled as much as possible, so I knew they'd end up with snow in their boots.  Alex and Sage obliged with their coats, and proceeded to descend most of the mountain on their bottoms.

We reached the trailhead in good spirits and headed back to the house in time for lunch.

It felt SO GOOD to get back out there!  We plan to hike again next week, but we don't yet know where.  In winter, everything depends on the last-minute forecast and the trail conditions.

Hope everyone is staying warm and that all these storms haven't completely wrecked your roofs (mine have ice dams...ugh).


Friday, February 6, 2015

Women's Adventure Speaker Series, March 29

Folks in the D.C. area -- the girls and I are giving a presentation at the Women's Adventure Speaker Series on March 29 in Rockville, Maryland. Many thanks to Jennifer Chambers, author of Best Hikes for Kids: Washington D.C.,  for inviting us! Thanks also to REI, Mountaineering Books, and American Hiking Society. I'll post more information about this event soon.