Friday, July 15, 2011

#20, #21 Mt. Kinsman, North and South Peaks June 23, 2009

#20, #21 Mt. Kinsman, North (4,293') and South (4,358') Peaks via Kinsman and Kinsman Ridge trails (AT),  June 23, 2009.

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,900'
Trailhead: Take Route 112 West from Lincoln to Route 116 North (or Exit 38 off of I-93).  The short road to the Mt. Kinsman Trail trailhead and parking area will eventually be on the right (on your left if coming from I-93), just before Tamarack Camp.  Several years ago they moved this trailhead and rerouted the first 2/10 mile. The parking lot is easy to miss; it is a field next to a house.  

Lesson learned: Beware of false summits!

I was working part-time, which gave me at least one weekday off each week.  I highly recommend this lifestyle.  Sandy has flexible hours so she took the day off and we decided to bag the Kinsmans.  

This was our first hike as a hiking duo and a chance for us to see how obsessed the other was with hiking the NH 4ks!  Rain was predicted but we didn't care, we needed to get hiking!

It wasn't hard to find the trailhead after a little research. We pulled in; the only vehicle in the lot. 
It was a cloudy day and we had hoped the rain would hold off.  The trail was a damp dirt and root path with mossy rocks (probably decent footing when dry).   We passed the Bald Peak overlook trail, figuring we could check that out on the way down.  

We ascended into a heavy mist and eventually came to the Kinsman Ridge trail junction. We turned right and soon arrived at North Peak (at 

The North Kinsman summit - nothing to write home about. 
When we finished eating, we packed up and headed down and then up.  At the height of land we saw some rock slabs and a small cairn off to the left.  We stopped and took some "summit" photos.

This is NOT the summit of South Kinsman but we didn't know it at the time.

It seemed logical that this was South Peak but because of our "summit confusion" on Mt. Willey a few weeks before,  I was suspicious that we might not be at the real summit and headed further down the trail (Sandy stayed by the small cairn).  The trail dipped down and turned a corner. The mist was thick and I couldn't see anything ahead but I kept going. Sure enough, in front of me was an open area with a much larger cairn.  I had a arrived at South Peak. I yelled to Sandy and we were both at the cairn by 12:30.

 Three celebratory photos: 1. North Peak 2. fake South Peak 3, real South Peak. 

It was apparent that South Peak offered up some smokin' views but not today.  We met two pairs of hikers at the summit.    One pair was camping; they had made reservations at the campground ahead of time and decided to make the best of less-than-great weather. 

On the way down it started to rain lightly. Going was very slow down the wet, mossy rock. Discouraged at our lack of viewage, we stopped at the Bald Peak side trail on the way down and were treated to views of Easton.  The bugs came out as soon as we arrived at the car.  We were still the only vehicle in the lot!

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