Kinsmans, Bald Mountain, Kinsman Flume | 12/22/22
Last May, when I went after the Cannon Balls, I ran into a colorfully dressed woman with a great attitude. For anyone who regularly does weekday 4Ks, you know Dee as a tutu-wearing “Bad Mutha” who will certainly leave an impact on you.
So, 7 months later, we finally reconnected to get back on a mountain together. With Denise needing several December peaks and me always needing many-a-trails, we agreed on The Kinsmans up from the backside, which I had yet to hike.
We met up for a modest start time and consistently kept a 2-mile-per-hour pace, which was granted to us through the already broken-out trail. Though the snowshoes came along, we were fortunate to stay in micros the whole day, even as the light winds drifted the snow around!
The first portion of the trail, essentially up until the Kinsman Flume spur, kept fairly moderate and was very easy to keep steady up. Seeing Kinsman Flume was unbroken and unsure how long it was, we opted to leave it until the way down. However, Bald Mountain had a nice footpath so we decided to visit that before gaining Kinsman Ridge. Ultimately, we could’ve done either of these spurs unbroken with little effort, but it was nice that the longer was already broken for us. From Bald Mountain, we had incredible views of the Kinsmans and made for a beautiful real-life black-and-white photo. For anyone that goes up Mt. Kinsman trail, it is 100% worth it to check out Bald Mountain… not to be confused with the Bald PEAK over by Artist’s Bluff.
After the spur, the trail got steeper and by the time we gained the ridge we were hotter yet colder at the same time as the effort increased with the winds. Nonetheless, we were immediately rewarded with sweeping vistas out to the clear Franconia Ridge across the street. After taking a moment to appreciate a clear day, which is especially rare for me, we kept going up Kinsman Ridge. There were maybe three icy sections that had enough snow atop to omit most of the danger, but these could present challenges for animals or small humans.
Soon enough, we got out to the North Kinsman view, which I had never actually seen anything from before, and was just dazzled. Wish I’d gotten a load of that when I was last there 2 years prior!
Anyways, we got going after very suddenly getting cold but warmed up as soon as we started going up from the base of the tiny col in between north and south. We got south a lot quicker than I remembered it being in summer, probably because of the beautiful effect of winter hiking, where you don’t need to watch for rocks as much.
On the summit of South K, we looked towards Loon and saw dazzling orange-tinted skies, in the middle of the day! Oh, how the White Mountains are a wonderful place. In all directions, we noticed something incredible. Wolf was experiencing a weather pattern of its own, Lincoln and Lafayette stood out with beautiful snow tops, and Chocorua & the sisters were more noticeable than ever for their sharp edges.
After chatting with other hikers at the summit, we made our way back, remaining just as hot and sweaty as the way up, and were joined by Chase, whom we ran into on the summit.
We made quick work of the upper section of the Mt. Kinsman trail and then debated spikes or snow shoes over to the Flume. I didn’t know what to expect, but we figured we at least get over the stream in micros and then change into snow shoes. I looked at Gaia and chuckled- the snow was so light and thin that we could just kick through it without post-holing at all, sweet! Plus, it took about a minute to get to the Flume. Thank goodness.
After the Flume, the rest of the trail went by even faster than the way up. We disbanded in the parking lot, exchanged some photos, and felt satisfied with our last day out before some really horrible rain.
Final Stats: 9.96 Miles | 3,706 Gain | 1 set of ski tracks