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Clouds Parted on Cannon for September

           Today was almost so many things... It was almost Isolation, a zero day, a couch day, and so on.  With a lot of changes in progress, my mind tends to want to be lazy these days and yet I knew a hike would do me good. I needed my fix for the week. Today turned into a Cannon day after I got myself out of bed at 430am. Isis and I hit the road around 5am. Our destination was the parking lot of the Cannon Tramway. It was suppose to be a gloomy and rainy kind of day and I was less interested in a 12 mile hike to Isolation so, it was what it was. Sleepy drive up 93 and a reminder to myself that I may have to deal with the Highland Games and the Race on the way home. Traffic might be interesting. I tucked those thoughts away and concentrated on the weather. After putting my boots on and getting things situated on and in my pack, Isis and I were off. We walked from the parking lot to the start of the Kinsman Ridge Trail. Little reminded me of the last time I was here because it was winter on my last trip up this side.

            Almost immediately on the trail, I noted some erosion of the dirt on the trail making it a little tricky in spots. The weather was cool but not cool enough for a layer. I was fine in my short sleeve shirt (Omni Freeze from Columbia) and my convertible trail pants (with legs on). We would be heading into the cloud that seemed to have parked itself over Cannon today. No big deal. This mountain is not one of my favorites and the cloud will keep the tram traffic down. Isis and I kept climbing and the elevation gain is almost immediate. As I remembered, there were some switchbacks, rocky sections, and some flatter sections before leaving the trees for the ridge.

      The trail looks like it's haunted as we head into the cloud and add to that the fact that we have yet to run into a soul, it gets a little spooky sometimes. This is nice today though and I am able to enjoy the quiet while concentrating on my footing. I noted that there were a lot more rocks since my last visit and that was mostly because of the snow on my last visit. There is a tricky section of slabs today because they are wet and I hugged a few trees. Isis and I coordinated our ascent of these sections and the communication was beautiful. I did stop to check my phone and see where the weather was. If it was too close, we would have turned around. I also sent out a few texts to let my progress be known. The distance from the bottom tot he top is the same as Monadnock on the toll road and white arrow trail but I believe the elevation gain is significantly greater. The weather looks good and we press on. All the sections that were easy in winter are now a challenge for my feet because the rocks are no longer filled in. This is another memory and a longing for the closer hikes to come.

        Isis and I continue and we begin to break through the trees making very good time. The surroundings begin to look familiar when we reach the sign for the Rim Trail which connects the tram and other ski buildings to the summit. Isis and I stop for a selfie at the sign and then I snap pictures at my favorite bench... I noticed that there is a dedication that is usually buried in snow when I see it: Dedicated to the spirit of the mountain and to those souls who mirror it's beauty. I really liked that. We were making good time so we stopped at an outlook (except there was no view). The wind was picking up and the cloud was swirling around us. We kept going and pushed to the summit tower. Going up the steeper sections of rocks was also tricky due to my feet being unfamiliar with anything except s snow covered trail. There are a few tricky sections to navigate and with a leashed dog, it can be a challenge. The good thing is that we did it!

       Reaching the sign for the observation tower, another hiker greeted us coming from the other direction on the ridge trail. He was trailing for the grand canyon and this was his 12th 4K peak. I did mention that it was my 3rd visit and Isis' second. I was in to mood to brag a bit. So we all went to the summit and I was pleased that the clouds parted! We were joined by another hiker on the tower and she snapped our summit photo. She had plans to take the tram down after hiking up from the Pemi. I didn't quite understand it but wished her well. Isis and I went down after that because the wind was blowing and I was hungry. We found a quiet bench for some dog snacks and I had olives, cheese, and salami. Tapas on Cannon which Isis was really interested in. I had found the perfect combination for Fall and would be bringing this fair again in my pack. The salt content was perfect for me. As we were sitting there, a few approached from the tram which I was surprised was running given the forecast of storms. Maybe it was better than I thought? Shortly after their arrival, Isis and I headed back down into the cloud.

       The wind picked up a little and we took our time on the descend. Dealing with the even more slippery slabs and the new rocks, plus my continued adjustment to bifocals (yes, still adjusting!), I just took it slow. We encountered a few other souls coming up as we were heading down. Luna and she owner, who we met on the Tri's this past winter were coming up. Isis was still not thrilled with her but then again, she is not thrilled with any unfamiliar dog. We also encountered tow other dogs who were traveling without owners (or so it seemed). Actually, they were just far ahead of them and I picked up Isis before she was rushed by them and things got ugly. They went back on the trail and soon the owners got caught up. I asked them to control the dogs and I passed to the usual questions: Is the puppy tired? Nope, not a puppy and a bit of a champ. She just gets overwhelmed by uncontrolled dogs. Have a good hike. Oddly enough, the woman agreed. I don't think she realized the comment was about her.

          A little further down the trail, and we navigated the tricky rocks where i fell in winter. We were greeted by two other souls with southern accents. They had no gear which meant they did not have the 10 essentials. They were determined to get tot he summit because the ranger said it was a piece of cake. I recommended a good dose of Turn Around Now. If you don't have the gear and feel you are in over your head (which they admitted too), Turn back. And to the ranger that didn't question the 10 essentials... Are you serious? They didn't listen though so, I hope they got up and down with no issue. Isis and I make great time on this hike. We started at 7:30am and summited by 10:10am. After a lengthy summit stay, we got underway at 10:40am and we were back at the car by 12:30pm. I would call this a success and a very nice hike (with a few falls along the way down). Cannon can be counted for September and for my 3rd round. Now is the time to pay attention to rounds since I now have 4 remaining (Cat's, Isolation, and North Twin)... Maybe before winter comes around I will complete this? We'll see... There just may be a return to MAINE in my future too. Life is abut to get interesting with a lot of changes coming up and I am looking forward to it... Finally.

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