Archive for January 2017

FallingWaters-FranconiaRidge-OldBridlePath

Under cloudy but mild conditions, I did the classic hike from the Falling Waters Trailhead, going up Falling Waters Trail, crossing the Franconia Ridge to Mt Lafayette, and then down Old Bridle Path. I started out alone at 7:40. Other similar hikes are here (9 hrs) and here (6 hrs). The Falling Waters Trail was superb, perfect with microspikes. At the treeline, I got ready to add layers for the ridge and discovered that my fleece was missing. Darn! I trudged back down a 100′ or so and found it hooked on a branch. Climbing back to the treeline, I met one guy who had just done the traverse—running! Then I met a couple who turned back because of the wind. I added my layers and started out, but I, too, turned back at the first col due to the wind. Returning to the top of Falling Waters, I met another guy, Richard, who thought the conditions weren’t that bad. Turns out Richard is a regular in the Whites, having hiked here for 30 years. I immediately asked if I could accompany him, and we agreed. Here’s Charlie Abert emerging from the same place on a bright, clear day. We got over the ridge traverse in about an hour, meeting one big group who had started out at 8am and were doing the reverse route. On the traverse, we were mostly in the clouds with some partial clearing. Still mostly foggy with 20-30 mph wind in places. Richard knows the route well.

After a respite at Mt Lafayette in that famous lee behind the summit—looking in the direction of Owl’s Head—we headed down to Greenleaf Hut and then back to the cars. I stayed with Richard all the way back. He’s a fine hiking companion.

Summary: 8.9 miles, 4154′ elevation rise, 6:30 (nominal time), All pics

Kinsman Overnight

Four of us, Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart, Mike Pineault, and Fred Knight, did another overnight, this time to North and South Kinsman with a stay near the Kinsman Shelter. It was near 0 overnight, and the second day started with slightly warmer temperatures but a good breeze and lots of low clouds. Clearing occurred in the afternoon of the second day, after we came down from the Kinsman summits.

Three collections of photos. My photos are here. Steve’s photos are here. Scott’s photos are here.

Like some other excursions to Kinsman (e.g., overnights in early 2014, 2013, 2010, and 2009 and day hikes in 2012 and 2009.), we left from Lafayette Campground, hiked to Lonesome Pond Hut (1.6 mi), then up the Fishin’ Jimmie Trail (1.9 mi), to the shelter. I’d forgotten how steep the trail gets after a stretch of undulation. I was exhausted at the end. We had started late with the intention of spending the night and then doing North Kinsman (0.6 mi) and South Kinsman (another 0.9 mi) the next morning. I’m glad we followed that plan.

Following dinner, there was not much left to do besides get into sleeping accommodations: Fred in his bivvy, Scott in a solo tent, and Mike and Steve in a 2-person, 4-season tent. As soon as we arrived, I had used Mike’s shovel to produce my bivvy, which worked pretty well. The wind picked up during the night, luckily from the east which effectively closed my Tyvek ground sheet over me, enhancing the warmth. We all slept in to almost 8am, although I had 3 calls of nature during the night (after too much tea for dinner) and another call for ibuprofen to relieve some pains in my legs due to the too-tight toe box at the end of my bivvy. Each time I do one of these bivvies, I hope for perfection, but this one had some attributes (nice slide in with pads and good comfort with underneath snow) and some flaws (toe box that was too tight and hiking pole droop). However, the 12″ snow cover allowed what I got done—thanks to Mike’s shovel.

My photos are here. Steve’s photos are here. Scott’s photos are here.

After breakfast, where Scott and Mike provided lots of hot water, we got going to the peaks, 3 miles round trip. Lots of traffic on the well-broken trails. Still socked in when we reached South Kinsman, but clearing started as we looked back on where we’d been on the way back to camp. Then downhill to Lonesome Lake Hut again for a break and good view of Franconia Ridge, then quickly back to the car about 3:30pm.

We never needed our snowshoes. Too bad we lugged them to and from the shelter.

Summary: 10.5 miles RT from Lafayette campground to North and South Kinsman and back, with overnight at Kinsman Shelter.