Double the Fun -Skiing & Hiking

Chasing my friend Kris down Bretton Woods’ slopes was extra fun in the spring sun.  A little snow decorated Mount Washington and the other high peaks.
Chasing my friend Kris down Bretton Woods’ slopes was extra fun in the spring sun. A little snow decorated Mount Washington and the other high peaks.
Becca on the Kinsman Ridge Trail.  This time of year the trails in the White Mountains are still snow and ice covered.
Becca on the Kinsman Ridge Trail. This time of year the trails in the White Mountains are still snow and ice covered.

Amy Patenaude

by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

The breezeway is full of gear–skis, bicycles, hiking shoes, boots and winter clothing are sharing the same space. My golf clubs are still in the attic but not for long. I drove past Angus Lea and Crotched Mountain yesterday and saw people on the fairways and the pins in the cups.
But we’re still skiing in April, just barely. The lifts at a majority of the ski areas have stopped spinning but the major players up north are open until their last man-made flake melts.
Last night Becca and I had great after work fun at Crotched Mountain. We hiked and carried our equipment tied to our backpacks. We visited the old fire tower site and snacked at the picnic table at the viewing ledge. After our break we hiked back to the ski area summit. I skied and Becca snowboarded; we connected the patches of snow all the way down to the base.

A good view of Loon Mountain’s South Peak from the Kinsman Ridge Trail.
A good view of Loon Mountain’s South Peak from the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

The funny part was that we weren’t the only ones on the mountain. We saw a mountain biker on the trail go by and as we were schussing down another skier was heading up.
Yes, we’re enjoying every last bit of winter.
Becca and I had a fine time Saturday morning at Cannon Mountain. Becca decided to bet on Cannon next winter and purchased her season pass for next year. Right now is when resorts offer the very best prices for season passes.
The weather was interesting and lovely. The temperature dropped below freezing during the night and made the snow firm (that is ski reporter talk for icy). We were all waiting for the sun to come out to soften up the snow. The sun came out on the summit first. The clouds remained below and the under-cast created a spectacular vista of the higher mountain peaks poking out of the milky low clouds.

Blue sky and sunshine perfect for a fine morning of skiing and snowboarding at Cannon Mountain.
Blue sky and sunshine perfect for a fine morning of skiing and snowboarding at Cannon Mountain.

Everyone “oohed” and awed at the sight until the cloud eventually burned off and the sun sparkled over the whole mountain.
The snow softened up on the five fingers, the trails that are above the parkway in Franconia Notch, and we made big turns over and over. We skied and snowboarded non-stop until mid-day. We didn’t stop because we were tired but because we wanted to go hiking.
We didn’t travel far but drove to the Beaver Brook Trailhead in Kinsman Notch (Route 112, west of Lost River). The Kinsman Ridge Trail reaches from Kinsman Notch all the way to Cannon Mountain’s Tramway parking lot. The trail follows the spine of the ridge over several smaller mountains, a 3,000-footer and three 4,000-footer peaks (South and North Kinsman and Cannon).
We headed up the Appalachian Trail northbound on the Kinsman Ridge Trail and we bare-booted and hopped from rock to rock as we went up the steep slope. A short distance after the intersection of the Dilly Trail (a notorious steep trail that originates from Lost River) we put on our micro-spikes. At the higher elevations the ground was covered with ice and snow and the micro-spikes made it possible for us to stay upright.

Mount Lafayette'poking up high above the clouds. The under-cast provided stunning views from Cannon's slopes of the surrounding mountaintops.
Mount Lafayette’poking up high above the clouds. The under-cast provided stunning views from Cannon’s slopes of the surrounding mountaintops.

There were no footprints in the snow and we were sure we were the only people out on this section of trail in sometime. We were surprised since the parking lot was full of cars. We didn’t meet anyone on the trail that afternoon but I was hoping we’d see a moose. There were quite a few moose tracks in the snow.
The trail has many ups and downs and we enjoyed the clear view through the leaf-less trees deep into the woods and off towards Lincoln and the Franconia Range. We stopped along the way at any open outlook to enjoy the view. We ended up following the trail to Blue Ridge North Peak, elevation 3,009 feet, where we decided we should probably turn back. We enjoyed the pretty woods and stomped around on the west side of the trail searching for the peak’s highest point.
We had a full day and the return trip went by quickly. We kept on our micro-spikes well past the point where we had put them on to be sure we didn’t have to just count on rock hopping.
Oh the shoulder season, not winter but not quite summer. At least we don’t’ have black flies yet. Have fun.