A year ago, we hiked Mount Willard and I passed out on the top. Walked off this little bit of a mountain and promptly drove to the e.r. Seems my arrhythmia was out of control, due to work stress and meds alone couldn’t control it anymore. I had to stop hiking for a bit until the heart doctor could go in, fix my heart and I removed the stress. Last May we started hiking the Whites again, this summer hiked a few spots in Oahu and have finally returned to our much loved White Mountains.
To get ourselves back in shape, a short hike to Bald Knob (or peak) was on the hiking card. However we went a little further and hiked to the junction of Mt. Kinsman Trail and the Kinsman Ridge Trail. We gave ourselves a turnaround time of noon. Wherever we were at noon, we would turn around. I know people will yell at us, “but you were only .4 from summitting North Kinsman.” We are not in this for the peak bagging. Plus we enjoyed this trail, so we will return to summit North and South on another sun filled day.
The morning painted a glorious sunrise over Forest Lake to wake us up and energize us for our day.
On the way to the trail, I spotted a moose, but he was running through a field and I knew by the time we turned around, he would have been gone.
We parked at the trailhead off of Rt. 116 in Easton, NH. We were only the third car of the day, but when we left there were 10-12 cars in the lot with room for more.
The trail was well blazed and offered a moderate grade.
Around .5 miles we turned onto a logging road and at .6 miles we zipped past a sugarhouse. This part of the trail felt like a 10 minute walk in the woods, it was very easy to hike.
Shortly after this we thought might have a bear encounter. We spied a dark blob with what looked like a light brown snout off of the trail, it close enough to the trail to be worrisome. We both stopped and studied this form, did we see it move at all? Hmm don’t think so.
Mike pushed me in front of him, gee thanks. We cautiously approached and realized out it was only a silly tree stump. Phew….We have yet to have a bear encounter on the trail.
The inclines were moderate and the forest that greeted us was lovely.
At 1.5 miles we crossed our first brook. Very easy to do, the rocks were perfectly placed for short legs, no worry about falling in.
The foliage around us were starting to display their fall attire.
At 1.8 miles we crossed over another brook and a little further on we crossed over the third brook.
At Brook #3 we turned right and walked a short path down to see the Kinsman flume.
After crossing here, turn right to the side path to see down into the gorge.
I couldn’t see into the gorge because I am to short to see over the trees and shrubs that line the top of the gorge.
We returned to the main trail, went about 70 yards and took the spur path to Bald Knob (Peak). This is the sign, but it doesn’t have go right to Bald Knob.
After turning right we entered what I referred to as the naked forest. The trees were a little bare here.
The .2 mile path to Balk Knob was an assortment of trail conditions.
This is what greets you as you reach the summit:
The views were great on this sunny day. The clouds that kept dancing by were fascinating to watch.
We were feeling pretty good, so we decided to return to Mt. Kinsman Trail and hike until noon. At noon we would turn around and head out, regardless of where we were. We knew if we didn’t summit North Kinsman today, we have the opportunity to return and skip the side views and head right up to the peaks. This was a great chance to preview the trail for a future hike.
The trail after the spur part became more “White Mountain Hiking Like”. The ups were steeper, more roots littered the trail to try to trip us and more rocks popped up to create fun obstacles to go over, around or even through.
We crossed a bridge that Mike admired for it’s woodworking.
After this bridge we had another push uphill.
A little before noon we entered a forest protection area.
At noon we reached the junction between the Mount Kinsman Trail and the Kinsman Ridge trail.
We ate a sandwich, walked right and left a little bit.
We stuck to our decision to turn around at noon. We reached our goal of Bald knob, this was just an extra bonus. We had hiked for 3.5 hours, time to turn around and head down.
Our descent went by quickly and we did it in one hour, 52 minutes. On our way out we passed about dozen hikers at various points on the trail either going to Bald Knob or returning from lunching there.
We really enjoyed our return hike to the White Mountains. Bald Knob is a moderate hike that offers fantastic views, little effort with huge rewards. A year ago my hike ended up with a trip to the e.r., this time it ended with a trip to the local co-op for a bottle of wine and some after hike cookies!!
The Details: We did 7.1 out and back miles, including a short walk down the flume path and spur trail to Bald Knob. 2.3 miles just to the Bald Knob. Elevation gain to Bald Peak was 1400 feet (but it didn’t feel like that). 3.5 hours to the trail junctions, 2 hours to descend.