It seemed like a good time to climb
Cannon again. My last climb of this peak had been way back in 2004,
when Muffin and I climbed via the Kinsman Ridge Trail from the
Cannon Mountain Tramway parking lot. Also, I hadn't climbed anything
in the winter for awhile, and Cannon wouldn't be as challenging as
some of the higher and more remote peaks. Finally, the ski area was
open and I would be able to stop in, warm up, and get something at
the snack bar on the summit. I felt good about my choice.
my first destination was Lonesome Lake Hut, another spot
that I hadn't been to in awhile. Parking at the State Park, I
started up the familiar Lonesome Lake Trail. It had been a snowy
winter; and on top of that, it had snowed a few inches during
the night. I wasted no time in putting on my snowshoes. Although
the trail was fairly well packed, it was also a bit slippery,
and the snowshoes provided much needed traction.
It was nice being in the mountains
again, and on the first White Mountain Trail that I had ever
hiked. It was an old familiar friend, and I knew every twist and
I made it to the shores of Lonesome
Lake in reasonable time, stopping to look over its snowy surface
toward the hut on the other side. There were tracks on the lake,
and I considered taking a shortcut over the lake instead of the
longer route on the trail, but then decided it might be better
to check with the hut caretaker and get his opinion on the
safety of the ice before trying it myself.
The snow was fairly deep and not quite
broken out on the Cascade Brook Trail around the east shore, but I
soon crossed over the lake's outflow and stood looking over at
cloud-obscured Franconia Ridge from the hut's beach/dock area. Off
to my left, even the nearby bulk of North Cannonball stood stark and
cold, struggling to peak through wisps of somber fog.
At the hut, all was bright, warm, and
welcoming. The stove was lit, and the caretaker stood chatting with
a couple of hikers would had stayed there overnight and were now
headed up to the Kinsmans on the Fishin' Jimmy Trail. Other than the
weather and the conditions of the nearby trails (and safety of
crossing over the lake), the main topic of conversation was the
earthquake and tsunami that had hit Japan less than a week before.
In fact, one of the other hikers had been in Japan just before the
After resting for ten or fifteen
minutes, I headed over to check out the bunkrooms, which I had been
told were completely remodeled. I was amazed at the vast
improvement. The last time I had been in one, the walls had been
paper-thin and full of small knot holes. Now, I'd actually consider
staying there again.
On my way out, I got another look at
Franconia Ridge, which was just beginning to clear. Agony Ridge, the
route of the Old Bridle Path, was now partially in the sun, as were
most of the lower portions of the range. Only the summit cones still
lay behind thick drifting clouds. The day was beginning to clear up!