It was the third week of November, about
a week before Thanksgiving, and although it had snowed up in the
White Mountains earlier in the month, there had been a warm-up and
it had all melted. Taking advantage of the what might prove to be
the last nice snowless day of the fall, I took off work and headed
up to climb the Kinsmans. I had never approached them from the west
before, only via Lonesome Lake and the Fishin' Jimmy Trail, and I
was looking forward to trying out the less-travelled route up the Mt
The Mt Kinsman Trailhead had recently
been relocated a few tenths of a mile down the road, a new section
of the lower trail now avoided following what had once been a
reportedly poorly-marked route on forest roads and driveways. It
was, however, supposed to be difficult to find the trailhead on Rt
116 near the Easton/Franconia town line.
After passing it up once
and turning around, I found the entrance to the trail's parking
area, partly because I had seen a picture of it online the day
before, and was soon headed up the trail. The newly-relocated
section was easy to follow, and after about 15 minutes of winding
through a relatively flat hardwood forest, met up with the former
route near an abandoned sugar house.
From there, the trail still followed a
quiet and peaceful country lane/forest road, which after about a
half hour of easy hiking, met up with an old logging road. After
crossing a small brook, the trail finally began climbing at a
moderate rate. The walking was still easy and quite pleasant. At the
top of a short straight incline, the trail crossed another brook,
where a small, but nice waterfall cascaded down a smooth ledge.
Although there wasn't any snow on the
ground, there were occasional patches of ice, including one muddy
area that had frozen, and some interesting ice crystals had formed
in the mud.
About an hour and a half after leaving
the trailhead, I reached Bald Peak, which is about 2/10 of a mile
off the main trail on a spur. There are many small mountains in New
England with names like Bald Peak, Bald Mountain, and Bald Knob, including this one
which is marked Bald Peak (Easton) on the map. Another is Bald
Mountain at the north end of Franconia Notch, reached by a popular
loop trail that also passes Artist's Bluff.
The views were pretty good from this
summit, and while not spectacular like those of the Franconia Range
from its taller neighbors, could still warrant being considered as a
destination by itself in the shorter/less strenuous hike category.
I had been hiking mostly in the shadows
all morning, but the sun was finally beginning to rise over North
Kinsman. In the shorter days of mid-November, the sun was hidden
behind the Kinsmans until around 9:30.
The Mt Kinsman Trail begins in a small parking area off NH 116 near
the Franconia/Easton town line. The trailhead was recently