North and South Kinsman
Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, John Moores
2012 May 20
Fred's Home

map

Fred's comments:

The three of us drove independently from Boston to Franconia Notch, did the hike from Lafayette Campground to South Kinsman together, then parted ways. The day warmed from the early 50s to the 60s under cloudless but hazy conditions. We met a young couple a few times on our way to Kinsman Hut, getting passed when we continued around Lonesome Lake through Fred's misguidance. They were continuing on to Canon Mt after N/S Kinsman and finally a bike run back to the campground---big day.

John, wanting to get back home for family fun, took off back down the return path at noon. I followed at a walking pace. Steve continued on to an overnight at Eliza Brook Shelter, and then back to Beaver Brook Trailhead on Sunday morning.

I got back in 3 hours, arriving at 3:02, and was impeded only slightly by dogs. I did meet an older couple who complained to me about their daughter not showing up---and then I met the daughter and her mate sometime later. When she described her parents, I responded "You mean the ones whose daughter never shows up on time?" She didn't actually laugh, just sighed. I said that there was obviously love behind the comment. She continued to look somewhat annoyed at their telling a perfect stranger this intimacy. I was bushed when I got back; John and Stave describe their own exploits.

Summary: 10 miles, 7 hours, 2 peaks.

John's comments:

Shortly after leaving the South Peak, I noticed I had a hotspot in my left boot which I used as an excuse to stop at the North Peak viewpoint and hang out on the ledge for a while – just gorgeous. Another guy who was there did a short bushwhack down to a large rock below, and it didn't look too painful, but I opted not to do so. I thought you might like to know that that is an option, for future reference.

I encountered a large number of ascending hikers on my way down, and a surprising variety of dog breeds. As I was moving rapidly down one section, where I could not see the trail below (rocks and the trail turned a corner), I very suddenly came face to face with a (beautiful) Rottweiler! We were both pretty surprised, but parted amicably.

I didn't note the time that I got to the North Peak, but I did note that I got to the hut at 1:35 (noon start from South Peak), where I stayed for 4 minutes to consume 48 ounces of their nice cold water. The descent from there was much more rapid because of the much easier trail conditions, and I arrived at the trailhead at 2:05.

I did not make it back in time for my daughter's soccer game, and wouldn't you know it, she scored a goal! I expressed much enthusiasm and told her how proud I was. We took her out to Kimball's for a horse ride, fried fish, and ice cream.

Steve continues:

After you two left the summit of South Kinsman, I was so inspired by your intrepid departure that I took a 20 minute nap in the sun. I then began the hike down to Eliza Brook shelter. The route was surprisingly steep with lots of smooth granite faces that made for some slow going as I tried to be particularly careful on the descent. The on-line guide says:

"From South Kinsman the trail descends moderately, then drops down a very steep and rough pitch, crosses a blowdown patch and a minor hump, then descends another steep pitch. It continues to descend at a moderate grade, then crosses the bog at the east end of Harrington Pond on log bridges. Here, there is an interesting view of the shoulder of South Kinsman rising above the beautiful pond. The trail resumes a rather steep descent, then crosses Eliza Brook and follows a very scenic section of the brook, with several attractive cascades and pools."

Note the repeated use of the term "steep". As a result, it took me about 2 hours (42 minutes over book time) to get to Eliza Brook Shelter, though I must have spent at least 20 minutes admiring the fantastic cascades and pools on Eliza Brook. They are worth a look, some of them are huge and the pools look great for swimming. No sign of trout however (I looked).

The shelter is in excellent shape and looks of the same vintage as the Kinsman Shelter that we admired. There were two male hikers in residence with a teenage son who was ensconced in his tent and did not emerge while I was there. The tent areas (level dirt) were on a small bluff overlooking the stream which was cold and clear. There was no caretaker in evidence. I had another nap then enjoyed a sumptuous dinner, a pipe, and an adult beverage. Just about dark, a group of 10 Harvard undergraduates showed up, part of a leadership training session for the fall Freshman orientation. They were very well-behaved and had good LNT skills. Very quiet and respectful – perhaps they were tired, their packs were enormous.

I was on the trail at 0707 the next morning and enjoyed the hike out. I paused for about 20 minutes on Mt. Wolf, enjoying the view of the Franconia ridge and the Kinsmans. After another steep descent at the end, I arrived at my car at 12:20 and had an uneventful ride home. All gear functioned well, except I should have brought my warmer sleeping bag. I should note that an ultralight backpacker flew by me on the trail. He had a small water bottle in each hand and was wearing a 20 liter pack. The only thing that hinted at overnight was the sleeping pad lashed to his pack. He was wearing low cut runners with the classic red low spandex gaiters (the ones with the skulls printed on them). For a moment, I felt old and slow until I cheered myself up with the thought that at least I won't lose my eyebrows trying to light a cat food can alcohol stove. I bet he didn't even have room for a corn cob pipe, never mind the single malt scotch.

John, It would be good to have you on the first section of the Pemi circuit. Be sure to get directions from Fred…

Regards,
Steve
8am, Lafayette Campground, gorgeous pack and car
8am, Lafayette Campground, gorgeous pack and car
We arrived on schedule and geared up quickly.
Intensity with camera 1
Intensity with camera 1
Intensity with camera 2
Intensity with camera 2
Kinsman Hut with John and Fred
Kinsman Hut with John and Fred
In front of Kinsman Hut
In front of Kinsman Hut
After ~4 miles, it's a short break before heading to the peaks.
Ginger and master at South Kinsman
Ginger and master at South Kinsman
Toward Franconia Ridge from South Kinsman
Toward Franconia Ridge from South Kinsman
Liberty and Flume form South Kinsman
Liberty and Flume form South Kinsman
South Kinsman
South Kinsman
At 5 miles and 3.5 hours, we reached the second peak.
South Kinsman
South Kinsman
With North Kinsman in the background, we posed just before splitting up: Steve to Eliza Brook, John running back, and Fred walking back.
Harrington Pond on Kinsman Ridge Trail
Harrington Pond on Kinsman Ridge Trail
Looking back to south Kinsman
Looking back to south Kinsman
Looking N from south of Harrington Pond
Looking N from south of Harrington Pond
Steve's wonderful falls
Steve's wonderful falls
Eliza Brook
Eliza Brook
Eliza Brook
Trail parallels brook approaching Eliza Brook shelter
Kinsman Peaks, Franconia Ridge from Kinsman Ridge Trail
Kinsman Peaks, Franconia Ridge from Kinsman Ridge Trail
Hazy but clear