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Return trip to North Kinsman 4293’ and South Kinsman 4358’

10.2 Miles 3550’ Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

What a beautiful day! This time of year is without a doubt the most comfortable time of the year to hike. The bugs have all but given up, the weather is cooler but the sun is still warm. Summer is letting go and with it go the sweat and bug bites. It’s still hard work but much more enjoyable. We took the same route we took the first time, parking at Lafayette Place Campground and hiking up the Lonesome Lake Trail to the lake and taking the Around Lonesome Lake Trail to the AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut. The work of beavers is evident along the trail. I don’t generally think of high altitude ponds when I think of beavers, so I was sort of surprised to find they had been working up this high. We sat on “The Beach” at the south end of the lake near the AMC hut, soaking in the warm fall sun and enjoying the spectacular view of Franconia Ridge. It was soon time to move on as it was quite crowded as is always the case when near one of the huts. Moving west along the Fishin’ Jimmy Trail we soon come to the intersection with the Kinsman Ridge Trail just below North Kinsman at the north end of Kinsman Pond. Here we turn south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail and begin to climb a much steeper trail than the moderate Fishin’ Jimmy Trail. As we move up and over North Kinsman we begin the descent on its southside down into the col between North and South Kinsman. Along the trail we come across a young Spruce Grouse who dosn’t know quite what to make of us. Perching in a tree she tries to make herself invisible against the bark but makes no attempt to flee and allows me to get right in her face with the camera. I managed to get a few good shots and wew were off again, soon ascending to the summit of South Kinsman, which I feel affords the better views, especially to the east along Franconia Ridge. It was a beautiful day and unlike the scene at Lonesome Lake we had the summit to ourselves, so we stayed and soaked in some more sun and scenery. Of course, the trouble with doing these two mountains this way is you have to climb down South Kinsman back into the col between summits then climb back out again and up over North Kinsman to return the way you came. It actually looks and sounds harder than it turns out to be, and we soon find ourselves descending North Kinsman. We didn’t spot our grouse friend on the way back, so she must have gained some sense and moved on. We did however see some gliders cruising along silently below our elevation, which was neat to watch. despite the calendar saying early September it was warm enough to for me and Emma to jump into Kinsman Pond on the way back. It was cold, but not icy bone-chilling cold, the kind that takes your breath away. Just refreshing cold, and it felt good to wash the sweat off. Not being all hot and sweaty and covered in bugs and mud made the long hike back to Lonesome Lake and then down to Lafayette Place a lot more enjoyable. On a scale of one to ten this was about a nine as far as hikes go. In other words, it dosn’t get much better than this.These two were repeats for Jude and I, but Emma was on new territory and inched ahead of Jude in her quest of her 4000 footers.
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