Date of Hike: Jan. 10, 2013

Trail Conditions: This was an afternoon hike (having done Waumbek in the morning) so people had packed down the dusting that would have been there in the morning and re-cut the trails in the wind-touched sections that would have been filled in so we had it easy -- though we did our own clearing that morning. Kinsman Ridge Trail started off a bit soft and stayed that way pretty much the whole way. It was better up high in the cold and the wind, but not much. It was packed enough to enjoy on snowshoes (and too soft without them as was evident by the many pock marks and considerable postholes left by two we encountered on our ascent). Trailside depths ran about 8"-1' near the base and went to roughly 2'-3' deep with even deeper drifts up high and on the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail was soft as well and west side hadn't been tramped at all today so we took care of that completing the loop after our tower visit. No crossings, no blowdowns with exception to two not-yet-problematic downed trees spanning the trail down low, and no real surface ice except for some windblown and people tramped sections higher up, but they were extremely easy to avoid and should remain so for the next several days despite the warmer weather expected. An easy snowshoe hike on a very nice trail. Expect these trails to degrade further in the next few days unless we get more snow.

Special Equipment Used: Microspikes and crampons weren't needed (though we had the former), but snowshoes were certainly required as the snow is softer and less consolidated than it should be, especially at the edges of the tramped part as was evident by the many pock marks and considerable postholes left by two we encountered on our ascent. Trekking poles helped with balance on the snowshoes.

Comments: Hiked this one with Bill Robichaud (brobichaud here on the VFTT). We ran into a solo hiker and a barebooting couple both descending as we climbed. The weather wasn't as nice as predicted, but it sure was an awesome day, hitting Waumbek prior to this hike for >5000' feet of gain in a bit over 11 miles at the end of the day. We wore base layers up top until we got to the Rim Trail where we needed gloves, jackets, and hats (the winds on the deck were gusting heartily. Very fun day!

Special Note: We stopped by the cafeteria hoping to order two coffees but were informed by the manager they were closed. We chatted with him for a bit anyway. Next thing we know he takes off for a few minutes and comes back with two coffees, on the house. That was so cool. The Cannon folks sure are hiker-friendly, as least the folks we met. We were grateful for their hospitality -- thanks Cannon!

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH