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.
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.
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.