Saturday, October 27, 2012

#33: S. Kinsman Oct, 27, 2012

#33,  S. Kinsman (4003') 10/27/12.
10/27/12    Saturday.  I was hoping to do a Birthday hike next week,  but with Hurricane Sandy on the way I figured I better get one in before the storm.  I decided to make a third attempt to S. Kinsman.  On my first attempt last January I had a delay driving up and ended up changing my destination to Cannon after reaching Lonesome Lake.  On my second attempt (also last January),  I started up cascade brook trail from The Basin planning to take Kinsman Pond trail, but ended up going up via Lonesome Lake because the Kinsman Pond trail wasn’t broken out.  I made it to N. Kinsman but stupidly turned back at that point because I thought I’d run out of daylight but also because I ran out of steam.   This time, to be different,   I decided to go up Kinsman Trail from Rt 116.  Since I was doing this as a one day drive up-hike-drive back, I got an early start and figured I do the first hour by moonlight and headlamp.  Evidently the current trailhead is “new” (not sure how new)  from  a sandy parking lot and meanders through the woods for a bit before meeting up with the old trail which is an easily followed wide old logging road.   The trail has what looks like new bright blue blazes which made following this section of the trail easy on the way back down, but which were nearly useless in the dark.   Despite the trail being covered with leaves , at first, I did pretty well at following it, more by instinct than anything else, and was happy every time I did come close enough to a blaze that confirmed that I was still on the trail.  I did however finally miss a sharp turn in the trail and wondered around for nearly half an hour in a big bushwhack circle (ie: I was l;ost in the woods).  Checking my GPS  track later against the map , it turns out that I had gotten pretty close to the trail half way through my wondering and if I hadn’t  turned west  to try and intercept the trail, I would have ran into it further up and actually have saved time.  I probably could have figured this out by map & compass, but I figured I’d wait until day break to do that if needed.  I really need to get the map software for the trails into my GPS.   Does anybody know if the Garmin Northeast trail map software actually has most of the trails in the whites?   After getting on the original logging road trail with the sun rising, following the trail was no problem even though it was covered with leaves.  The logging road passes a strangely isolated building which the AMC guide calls a “sugar shack”.  I wasn’t sure what that meant (other than a song from the 60’s) but on the way down when there was more daylight  I could peek inside the crack at the loosely hasped door  and could see the buckets and other paraphernalia used to collect the sap from maple trees for maple syrup (see pics).  I have since checked the web and indeed a “sugar shack” is a building where they process maple syrup from sap.  The hike up to Kinsman ridge was uneventful with several easy small stream crossings. There was a lot of wet moss and lichens on rocks on the trail after the trail started getting some elevation but they didn’t seem too slippery (at least on the way up).    On Kinsman ridge trail going up to N. Kinsman there are a few slightly challenging, interesting  scrambles that I recall being much worse in January when covered with solid Ice. Good views from the outlook just east of the trail at N. Kinsman. However I didn’t stay long, wanting to get to my “nemesis”,  S. Kinsman.     The Southern side of N. Kinsman also has some short scrambles, probably harder than those on the North side but still not too bad.  For me it was a fairly easy 1 ½ hours additional time to hike over to S. Kinsman and back with a short lunch break on S. K.  Makes me all the more disappointed in with myself for turning back last January.  That decision cost me $100 in gas just to pick up one peak that I should have been able to bag then.   Funny thing,  is that if I decide to try for the 48 4K’s in the winter, I’m going to have to do S. Kinsman again.  My January N. Kinsman hike would count as a winter peak.   S. Kinsman also has some nice views west, if you’re standing up, from a clearing just to the East of it. But not as nice as from N. K. Coming back I took a small break at the viewing cliff near N. Kinsman but was in kind of a hurry to get back down and reduce my night time driving time.  I was already an hour behind what I thought was my worst case schedule (partly due to being lost in the woods for ½ hour).  After leaving the ridge and heading down Kinsman trail I had a hard time with the mossy section of the trail and probably slipped and nearly fell more than half a dozen times. This was partly because I have no more tread on the heel of  my summer hiking boots that will be getting thrown out soon, and partly because I was rushing more than I should.  I actually made it down pretty fast for me with a moving average speed of 2.5 mph from the ridge to the trail head.  The total 9.8 mile hike with +/- 3878 elevation gain took me almost 10 hours (0600 – 1545). Subtracting out my peak breaks and my “lost in the woods” time, my actual hiking time was probably 8:45 hrs  vs. the AMC book time of 6:50, typical of my 1.3 X book time.   After completing the hike I drove a short way North on Rt 116 to see if the logging road did continue to Rt 116 and found that it did and that the old Kinsman trailhead sign was still there.  There is a chain across the entrance saying that this section of the trail is closed.  I suspect they moved the trailhead so that they could create a parking lot for it.    On hind sight I could have parked at the new trailhead before day break and walked ¼ mile up to the old trailhead and had no problems staying on it in the dark.  I’ll keep this in mind if I decide I want to do the winter list.


Leaf covered trail

mossy part of trail

rooty partr of trail

geologiocal marker on Kinsman ridge (not AT A PEAK)







ACTUAL N. KINSMAN PEAK (per AMC guide book)

interesting gargol growth on tree -
 or a boxer dog if you focuis on the far right spot being a nose.

volunteer trail keepers area?

the sugar shack

peek inside the sugar shack

where the new trail meets the old trail logging road

posted list of "adopt a trail volunteers"

Warning sign for Hurricane Sandy

back at the trail head


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