North and South Kinsman (4,358′)
I finally had a chance to get back outside to hit the trail and it felt great. After sitting dormant all winter due to injury, this was the first hike I had done since December. I’ve learned over the years to slowly ease back into this stuff and not take off like a bull in a china shop. There is a tendency to pickup where I left off but it always ends up doing more harm then good. This hike was only 8.8 miles round trip and had many stops along the way, it fit the bill perfectly. North and South Kinsman are both on the NH48 list. I snow-shoed North Kinsman back in 2015 and it was the first 4,000 ft peak I started with. For some reason we never tackled the south peak which was only 0.9mi away (the reason is we were exhausted).
Pat and I arrived to find the parking lot jam packed so we parked on I93 south and started with a short road walk. I knew it was Memorial Day weekend but I was very naive in thinking many people wouldn’t be out. Not sure why. We started on Lonesome Lake trail, it was a 1.4 mile hike to Lonesome Lake Hut and it started climbing immediately, not much time to ‘ease’ in. The trail was muddy which I’m guessing was a result of the recent snow melt and the heavy foot traffic. Arriving at the hut it was easy to understand why there were so many cars below, it was a full house. We were going to stop in and grab water but decided to keep truckin. It was 2.0 miles from the hut to Kinsman Pond Shelter where we would be spending the night. Again, I thought there wouldn’t be many people camping but the place was very full, just like the parking lot. We arrived early enough to snag half of a tent platform with another group . It was tight but it worked. We setup our tent and left everything behind except our food and stove. It was 0.4 miles to the summit of North Kinsman. A combination of light packs and moderate terrain made for a quick ascent to the summit. The sun was out and the views were great! A lot different the then the last time I was up here. As quickly as we arrived we left. The next peak was 0.9 miles so we set out for the south peak. We descended about 200 ft before climbing back up. The summit of South Kinsman didn’t have much of a view but was a nice place to relax. The stone chair at the top was comfortable, it was just missing a foot rest. Took a few obligatory “I’m at the top” pictures and then headed back to the north summit so we could eat dinner.
Arriving back at the north summit we dropped our packs and busted out the stoves. We ate dinner as the sun was fading behind us. We intended to hike down after the sunset but the prospect of navigating wet, steep, muddy rocks was becoming less and less appealing. We decided to hike down a bit early and go check out the pond that was next to our campsite. The water was freezing and the idea of jumping in evaporated quickly, a warm sleeping bag sounded better. We headed back to the tent, finished the rest of the whisky and went to bed.
Woke up early the next day and hit the trail at 7. After a cup of coffee we were both ready to get going. There wasn’t much activity on the trail and we made it down to the parking lot at 10. A short road walk and we were back at the truck. It felt good to take off my pack and slip into the fresh New Balance running shoes I got a few days prior. The comfort of clean dry shoes after a long hike is nothing short of glorious.