Cannon Mountain

Cannon Mountain (4100')

2003 May 31

Route: Lonesome Lake, Lonesome Lake Hut, Lonesome Lake, Kinsman Ridge, summit, Kinsman Ridge, Hi-Cannon, Lonesome Lake
Time: 7:00
Distance: 6.5 miles
Elev.: 2300 feet

We (Elleing, Ash, Andy, Jim, Sam, and I) hiked our first 4000 footer of the year on Saturday, May 31st, 2003 at Cannon Mt. The weather was warmer than had been forcasted, so all of us left our warm layer in the car and headed out about 11:15am. The hike started up Lonesome Lake trail and wasted no time ascending the 2300' climb to the summit. Lonesome Lake trail was a tree-lined, manicured, StairMaster-of-a-climb. The trail has been maintained to the point that some sections really are rock stairways. The trail flattens out for a while around Lonesome Lake where we stopped for lunch at the Lonesome Lake hut about 1 hour into our hike.

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We ate inside at the hut, so we could sit at tables and eat lunch. We then headed down to the rocky beach for some pics of the lake, Cannon Mt., and Lafayette and Lincoln. Then, a lightsaber fight broke out. This stretched lunch quite a bit longer than planned, but it was a nice place to spend some extra time. Break concluded, we hiked back around the lake to Lonesome Lake trail by way of the timber puncheoned trail. (The trail around the lake is very nice and very flat and the walk is on timber puncheons the whole time.) Lonesome Lake trail resumed its steep ascent and we were soon at the Kinsman Ridge junction. Even with the altitude gain, the temps remained steady and it was warm getting there.

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Kinsman Ridge trail was the first trail with character. Lonesome Lake was just an unrelenting climb over a well worn path and the trip around the lake, although nice, felt a bit like a tourists' nature walk like The Flume Gorge. This trail had some twists, turns, up, downs, flats, and scrambles, not to mention some remaining ice and snow. There were a couple sections that required some thought before crossing and some decent views off the west side of the ridge. There is a very steep ascent, but it seemed less strenuous with more to take in. At the top of the steep ascent, the trail leveled off a bit until the summit tower where we climbed the wooden steps to spectacular views of the Franconia Ridge and surrounding landscape.

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Temps at the summit still hovered around 70F and the rain that was in the forecast was missing from the clear views. I think it was around 3pm when we summited which is about right for a 3.7 mile, 2300' hike with a 45 min. break. Elleing made a quick blister fix with a band-aid and duct tape and we all snacked, lounged around, and snapped some pics during our stop. We made a quick visit to the tram building to use the restrooms and get water and snacks before heading back down the mountain.

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We took the Hi-Cannon trail back for a couple reasons. Most agreed that the Lonesome Lake trail wasn't that appealing, the Kinsman Ridge trail had an unquestionably steep descent, and Hi-Cannon would shorten our trip back. Although the top of the trail was flooded in sections, it was well worth it. This trail has lots of ledges, switchbacks, and typical alpine variety that make the hikes intersting. We stopped on one ledge and stared out over Lonesome Lake and the Franconia Ridge with the Kinsman Mountains off to our right. The ledge was so steep that no one dared approach the edge. We then happened upon a 15 foot ladder required to ascend or descend the trail. This made for some great pics, but good thing we weren't hiking with dogs!

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We reached the lot about 6:15pm after a 2.8 mile descent from the summit. We cleaned up a bit, changed, and headed to Gordi's restaurant for dinner. A much longer day than planned, but we stretched our time at every point and made it home before 11pm.

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