Mt. Kinsmans (North and South)
North Kinsman: 4,293 feet
South Kinsman: 4,328 feet
- Date: August 22-25, 2011
- Trail: Fishin' Jimmy trail; Kinsman Ridge Trail; Gordon Pond Trail
- Total hiking time: 4 days
- Weather: Clear hiking weather all days, nighttime rain for several nights
"A few students chose to try some "blinded" steps with a human guide and realized quickly why the footing in the Whites is legendary. A couple even took short sections to guide me. "
Read more about Randy's thoughts on the Kinsman hike here.
Monday, August 22
First day of student leadership practice and things began a little slowly as a result. We were on the trail by 9:30 and took a few more breaks along the way to help coordinate. The trails were very wet from extremely heavy rains the previous night but the temperatures were cool with a light and very refreshing breeze.
We reached the Lonesome Lake Hut at 11:00 a.m. and had lunch on the porch. Fishin’ Jimmy Trail was exceedingly wet with many hikers giving caution on what we would find ahead. The trail is tough in dry conditions and it took us close to four hours to traverse the two miles. Arriving at Kinsman Pond Shelter we had time to setup and hold our many discussions, eat dinner, and for some be in the shelter when the heavy rains came for that evening as well.
Tuesday, Aug 23
We were awake for 6:00 a.m. and on the trail for 8:30 a.m. The weather was gloriously clear and comfortable with more gentle breezes. The trails were still exceedingly wet and challenging. We reached the summit of North Kinsman and its impressive overlook within 1.5 hours and took another hour to reach the summit of South Kinsman and a decent slab overlook to have lunch and take a map reading lesson.
We then traversed the hardest section of trail down south Kinsman amidst rescue helicopter practice drills and an earthquake we apparently missed feeling.
We arrived 4 hours later at Eliza Brook Shelter for the evening.
Wednesday, August 24
Again up at 6:00 a.m. and we were on the trail by 8:30 a.m. The weather was very comfortable and dry which was good since the next stretch of trail was reputed (and delivered) to be the most muddy most of us would ever encounter.
Along this ridge the trail has many up and down stretches which seem to continually wear down reserves. It was a bit warm from the exertion when the sun shown upon us and cool when breaks took place. Lunch was at 12:30 and recharged us for this longest day's work eventually up and over Mt. Wolf for our last break, foot drying, and push towards Gordon Pond. The final stretch was the most muddy and it took some trail work to traverse it without sinking beyond knees in many places! We arrived near to 6 after our longest day on the trails and set up tarps at an entirely natural location. Sun setting on the pond and enticing a very large moose to wade out before us and feast on the tall grasses highlighted the end of the day.
Thursday, August 25
Again up at 6:00 a.m. but pushing more efficiently we were on the trail for 7:40. We had 3.6 miles to traverse and wanted to make the best time to date since the trail was frequently gentler until the final very steep descent. We achieved this goal and more with the fastest group time along this trail of any prior Prof. Bell trip. By 10:00 a.m. we stood atop the .5 mile steep and final descent to Rte. 112 and spent 45 minutes finishing that push out of our wilderness traverse.