BeginningsI've always loved New Hampshire. When I was a kid my family would go there for at least a week every summer. When I was in high school one year we didn't go, and then my junior year in H.S. was the last time we went as a family. I had maybe lost some of my amazement for NH as an older teenager. At that time other things were becoming more important in my life. It would be a long time before I returned to NH.
I actually passed through briefly after I was done in college some 7 years later working on a TV production. It felt kinda weird being back in a State I loved so much as a kid. Then some 5 years after that I got into hiking, which changed my life, and I knew that very soon I would be returning to NH.
At first I was into State Highpointing, and in my first year of hiking I did all the NE States except NH and ME. So the next year saw me finally return to NH, and I did my first hike in the spring of Mt. Morgan and Mt. Percival. I then waited for the snow on Mt. Washington to melt some. The first day of summer in 2006 I made the summit of Mt. Washington, and I was hooked on hiking big mountains in NH. I made up my mind to hike the rest of the major Presidentials that year and Franconia Ridge, which I did.
At some point during all this I started to pursue the 4000 footers in the NE with a goal maybe one day to have done them all. I would just rotate back and forth between the Adirondacks and the White Mountains. Wherever the spirit led me I went, so they say. So the next year I did just that. In November of that year I did a winter-like hike on Mt. Carrigainn with another SP member and I had 19 4000 footers to my name done in NH. I went into my hibernation for the winter, and set a lofty goal for 2008 of doing 20 NH mountains on the list of the NH 48. If it meant skipping the Adirondacks, so be it! I was going to put all my focus this year on NH. I wanted to, and did fall in love with NH once again.
IntroductionFast forward over the spring and some of the summer, and that brings us to Labor Day weekend this past year. I did 10 more NH mountains during that time. Some of them were very long day trips; start the drive from NJ in the middle of the night, get there early, hike, drive back, and go to work! It's tough, believe me. It wasn't always the case. Sometimes I would drive up and spend the night at a cheap motel, and then go hike. The best though is when you actually have multiple days off in a row, which I rarely get. You can then get a lot accomplished, not to mention you feel so much better than trying to rush back and go to work! I only had this once before Labor Day this past year in July and the weather was really crappy.
Where were we? It's Labor Day weekend (for me it was Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday) and I have 3 days to go hiking in NH! What is more awesome than that? How about a great forecast for all three days! It took all summer, but finally all the stars aligned just right for me. Multiple days to go hiking with no worries. So where do I go?
Day IThe first day had me going off to do North and South Kinsman. I would take the Lonesome Lake trail to the Fishin' Jimmy trail, and then take the Kinsman Ridge trail over the two summits. I was looking forward to finally seeing Lonesome Lake close up. I had seen it from across the street on various Franconia Ridge peaks.
I started the day fairly early, but the clouds and fog were still lingering around by the time I got to Lonesome Lake. Oh well. I had to come back this way so all was not lost. I started working my way up towards Kinsman Ridge, and was feeling good even though the clouds were not going away.
So I get to the top of North Kinsman and I don't see the true summit. I read that it was slightly off the trail. I can't find it. The book said it was just past the overlook. Well I still have South Kinsman to do, so I'll find it on the way back, and I head off to South Kinsman. When I get about halfway there finally the clouds began to lift and 3 days of sunshine are finally ready to happen. I enjoyed the views from South Kinsman, though the wind was somewhat annoying. I took my pictures, and then headed back to find the true summit of North Kinsman.
I first went back to the overlook and enjoyed being able to look at Franconia Ridge. It was nice to know that at one point I was on those mountains. What memories! Mt. Lafayette! Mt. Lincoln! Little Haystack! Mt. Flume! Mt. Liberty! Good times. I searched around and found the pointed boulder marking the true summit; so I headed back down to Lonesome Lake. Lonesome Lake was great now that the clouds were gone. It was so awesome to see the views around the lake. I liked how Franconia Ridge rises up behind the lake, and how you can look back at where you just were on Kinsman too. It was a good day of hiking, and tomorrow there would be more.
Day IIThe next day I was going to Carter Dome, and try for South and Middle Carter as well. I read that Mt. Hight has terrific views so I wanted to see that as well. It was an bold plan, though I didn't know if I could do it all, and then still have energy for more the next day. The main event was Carter Dome and Mt. Hight, so that is where I headed first.
I decided to take the Nineteen Mile Brook trail to the Carter Dome trail, which would bring me to the Carter-Moriah trail, and that would lead me to my destinations. After hiking the previous day I was a little sluggish going up the Carter Dome trail. I definitely wanted to see Mt. Hight, so I decided to do that first. Going up you could hear the wind whipping around up there.
Before I even reached the top I was holding my hat onto my head. Once I reached the top IT WAS WINDY. That had to be one of the strongest winds I ever faced. Yeah the view was great, but I just wanted to get off that mountain as soon as possible. I didn't even bother going for the true summit off the trail. I could barely walk forward! It was ridiculous. I stubbornly took a few photos. I had to find some rocks to take cover, and then I had to kneel down on the ground and somehow hold the camera straight. I got my photos though.
So after the wind on Mt. Hight I headed over to Carter Dome, which was so much calmer. It didn't have the views of Mt. Hight, but you could still see the Presidential Range good from spots. I knew on my way back to skip Mt. Hight.
I was getting kinda tired, and my knee was aching so I decided to do only South Carter and save Middle Carter for another day, which I'm glad I did.
In the fall I had a great time on that mountain, but that is another story. So I slugged my way over to South Carter, and then decided to call it a day. The hike back I took my time, and was so glad to just be able to have dinner and go to sleep, not having to drive a great distance. That would be for tomorrow, but not after doing one more mountain.
Day IIISo day three I decided to go to Cannon Mountain. I've always wanted to go up there ever since I saw it. How can you not see it on I-93? I've driven past it so many times, it was time to check out the view from the top. It was the last big peak off the Franconia Notch Highway left for me to do.
I decided to once again take the Lonesome Lake trail, and then take the Hi-Cannon trail towards the top. I had a feeling I would be all by myself today. It was still Labor Day weekend for me, but for everyone else it was Tuesday, and time to go back to work. I had to go back to work as well, but not until 11:30 at night, so I might as well enjoy the rest of my mini vacation.
As I was walking along I almost walked into a spider web with a menacing spider on it! Take a look at the picture of that thing. I liked going up the ladders, and walking on the ledges that gave fine views across to Franconia Ridge, and to Lonesome Lake and Kinsman. The sun was rising right behind Franconia Ridge, so it was nice to look at.
I think as I was getting near the Kinsman Ridge trail I started to hear the fighter jets. I've heard these things before flying around. This time I heard a lot of them. I was going to get a photo of them this time. It was hard to do, but I got a couple of shots, even though they were flying high and fast.
I made my way over to the summit, and sat down to relax for awhile. It was a nice time. It wasn't windy or cold, and I was all by myself. It had been a good couple of days, and so far a great spring and summer. There was still some summer left, and fall too! I didn't want to leave, but I had to get going eventually. I now had 34 of the 48 NH 4000ers done. Later on in the year I would add 7 more to that list. The main lesson here though is that summer is great, and the White Mountains are great!