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Cannon Mountain for Plan B


I did not expect to be on Cannon today but I was in the end happy with it. So, my alarm started going off at 2am so I could trek across The Bond's but that was not to be. Choosing sleep over epic hike was only hard when I finally woke up and sat on my couch having coffee. Before I succumbed to another lazy day, I got everything in the car and that included Lil' Nugget (of course). It was 7:30am when I left my home in Southern New Hampshire. It was unusually bright on the ride up due to my late departure. I arrived at the Cannon Mountain Tram parking area around 9:30am and we got ready to go. There was a fair amount of people already on the trail. It was Saturday after all. I just never really expected to run into what I did this late in the season. 



The Kinsman Ridge Trail from the tram parking lot is only 2.1miles to the summit. It's 2.1 vertical icy and eroded miles. 2.1 rocky, clear cut, up miles. But you also get a pretty nice walk on a ridge which can be easy as they designed it so that people walking off the tram can walk it. You just have to climb to get to it... Of course. As I began today, I was determined to take is slow as always. The family ahead of me had on a mixture of jeans, sweatpants, and sneakers with only a few backpacks for them all. Not really prepared and not really understanding the trail, I warned them that it gets icy this time of year and that they really need to be careful. They kept going even though the kids really didn't want to. Lil' Nugget and I were also passed by a couple who equally had minimal gear but seemed a little stronger than the family. As we all climbed, first we went through sections of erosion with some standing and running water. It's running over a thin layer of ice. You can't use spikes on this either. Once we cross a minimal crossing and continue going up, the trail opens up to a clear cut area over icy boulders. We came to the slabs and saw some sheer ice. I was disappointed as I stood there studying the ice flow. Again, it's glare ice and not enough for micro spikes. Two hikers stumble up behind me without any kind of traction and minimal gear. They debate as well. I decided to try my microspikes as I was really not interested in turning back this morning (that might have killed me worse). Surprisingly, it did help just a little but I probably sacrificed them to the mountain.


It was before this section that the family, thankfully turned back (they had no traction). Lil' Nugget and I continued through fields of what looked like refuse from the ski resort. It's just a difficult trail to manage when there is no snow filling things in and covering things up. I left my microspikes on because I knew I'd run into ice again. It was warm but it was also cold so the layers stayed too. Soon, Lil' Nugget and I evened out to the ridge and my heart went back into my chest and my lungs stopped heaving. A flat walk was very welcome and we ended up stopping off at an often clouded in view. Today, it was nice to look out to Franconia Ridge "across the street". The couple that had passed us was also there sharing a beer. Turns out that they got engaged on Mt. Willard yesterday and the celebration continued. I congratulated them and took their picture and they did the same for me. Sans congratulations though. I'm just having a normal day.  Lil' Nugget and I continued to the observation tower (true summit proper) and since I would never see the couple, they must have decided to head home. 




 
This is a nice walk in spots but today, there is a lot of ice that when you step on it, it cracks and breaks like glass. Lil' Nugget was not to keen to step on it either. So, after a short down trail, we head up again over rocks that are a little tough to navigate due to the spacing but we do it slowly. People are starting to come off the summit now as well. It was fun to be the one coming up still for a change. Sometimes not getting up so early is good. Lot's of nice people on the trails though today. Everyone up this high at least had some experience under them. Once through the rock climb, Lil' Nugget and I evened out again on the easy trail to the summit due to it being used by Tram traffic. It might as well be paved. We pass our favorite inscribed bench and continued swiftly to the junction for the summit observation tower. We were almost there.



Once up on the tower, Lil' Nugget and I enjoyed some time to ourselves. It was quiet up there and the winds were low for a change. She didn't really like the climb on the stairs but she did settle on the platform once we got there. We had some cheese and some salami. She enjoyed the last of her dried muscles too. I sat in the quiet and the sun and thought about a lot of things but the furthest from my mind was anything that was affecting me at ground level. I had such plans swirling around in my mind for the winter and for my continued hiking. Even as I struggle with hiking these peaks over and over again, I have a few ideas for some longer backpacks that I'd like to see come true, as well as ways to keep hiking in The Whites. Up first though is winter... One month from today. I'll be there with my snowshoes for my final tow peaks. We began our descent of Cannon and I knew I was up for a challenge. Coming off the summit, we ran into a few more hikers and a few more dogs. All were friendly and respectful of Lil' Nuggets space. We met Petey who's a 14 year old dog and his owners who also read my reports. He seemed to be handling the KRT rather well. We tramped back over to the KRT and were greeted by a couple. The gentleman had his arm in a sling and as it turns out had some kind of surgery two days prior. Seriously??? I get that he wanted to get up and get going again but take it a little easier. The KRT is awful and I'd would have hated to reverse anything that surgery was correcting. To each their own though. 



We ducked below tree line without too much notice and began navigating the rocks and ice again. It seemed to take us no time to get back to the disaster zone of cleared trees and rocks. We encountered a 3 year old German Shepard who was on her 2nd 4 thousand footer. I wished her well and said that we'd see her at the awards night some day. Such a cutie too with floppy ears still. Lil' Nugget and I made it all the way past the area where I initially put on my microspikes and as I reentered the "erosion zone", I slipped and fell smack on my ass on a rock. Ouch! I guess I'll add these bruises to the collection from the Osceola's last weekend. My legs have that shoulder season look to them right now and it's not pretty. After I recovered, we continued down and I ran into the last couple of the day. These two were "classic". The woman was in white pants, a nice coat and gloves. She did not want a dirty dog jumping on her. The gentleman was dressed a little more appropriately but he had on a walking boot. Turns out he's broken his foot and decided to still try and walk up a 4 thousand footer... I CANNOT make this stuff up. I told them the conditions and they took it to heart but decided to keep walking to some kind of an outlook. Yikes! It's shoulder season. I thought these people were suppose to stay home?? We ended our day back at the Tram lot and changed back into more comfortable cloths. I was probably way over dressed for today but I was happy for the layers. I got back not he road home and headed for coffee... Extra Large Blueberry Decaf. Another hike in the books and even with the challenges, a fantastic day out. 

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