The next phase of our hike was to follow the Kinsman Ridge trail, over the "Cannonballs", to North Kinsman. The trail down from Cannon along the Kinsman Ridge trail proved to be extremely treacherous - much more so than the Hi-Cannon trail. There was a lot of thick, hard, slippery ice. And it was a very, very steep trail. We had not brought crampons (and in fact, it wasn't obvious that we would have used them anyway, since there was just the wrong amount of ice and no-ice).
Progress down this section was very slow and tedious, and when we got to the cutoff trail at the base of this slope and the first Cannonball, I was about ready to bail. I was not pleased with the idea of a rough trail over the cannonballs with this type of trail condition.
Jenn convinced me otherwise, though, and we decided to give it a go.
As it turns out, continuing was a good call. The section of trail over the Cannonballs, while a bit snowy and a bit icy in spots, was actually in pretty reasonable shape. The day rapidly warmed up, and the freezing cold huddle on the top of Cannon Mountain soon faded into distant memory. We made pretty good progress, traversing all of the bumps by noon.
Before heading up North Kinsman, we took a short detour and had lunch on the shores of high and scenic Kinsman Pond. There is a great view up to the summit of North Kinsman from here!
Our hike up North Kinsman from Kinsman Pond took very little time, even with sections of snow-packed slippery trail. The view from the top was fantastic - even more so if a faint herdpath was followed down to an even better viewpoint overlooking Kinsman Pond. The combination of the lake far below, the expansive terrain beyond and the backdrop of Franconia ridge in the background was fabulous. I was quite glad that we hadn't decided to bail after summiting Cannon!
Cannon and Franconia Ridge
Having managed to achieve our two summits, we wanted to get back down quickly so that we could be back in Ottawa at a reasonable time. Jenn is particularly fast in the descent, and it took a bit of hustling to keep pace as we zoomed back down, returning via the "Fishin' Jimmy" trail. On the way, we passed by (and stopped at) Lonesome Lake (with its very cool Lonesome Lake hut/refuge).