Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cannon Redlines 8/7/14

Working title: Thunder + Waterfalls = Good combo

New red-lining miles: 6.3

Being a planner, this day was only partially planned (the horror!). The forecast for Thursday was kind of crummy, so I thought I'd at least get up to Bridal Veil Falls, and see where things went from there. There were (still are) plenty of target trails in this area, so my choices wouldn't be limited.

Hike #1: Coppermine Trail

Trails: Coppermine Trail, abandoned Coppermine Ski Trail

Mileage/time: ~6.4 miles, ~1500' of gain, book time of 3:55, actual time of 3:15

While the present Coppermine Trail is only 2.5 miles in length, I'm always on the lookout to get more bang for my buck. The trail itself is rich with history, of the skiing, and Hollywood varieties. In the late 1930's, famed actress Bette Davis was rescued by Arthur Farnsworth, after becoming lost on the Coppermine Trail. A romance ensued, and the two were soon married. Following his death, after suffering a skull fracture, in 1943, Bette had a memorial placed in Coppermine Brook, in his honor. I did not go looking for the plaque this day, but I will on my next trip here.

Just off of 116 in Franconia, I parked in the designated area (no parking beyond the sign), and started up the road. The rocks, the ground, the trees were wet from rain during the night. I was trusting my other pair of trail runners, though I apparently didn't, because the Frankenshoes were in the car. The trail follows the lower route of the old Coppermine Ski Trail, and is nice and wide, with easy grades. Pulling along Coppermine Brook, the trail narrows in spots, but was still really easy walking.


Coppermine Trail

Coppermine Trail

Fork to the right

Coppermine Brook

The hike up from the road was quick, and I reached the shelter in about 50 minutes, the sound of the falls behind it. Following the path, I popped out at the bottom of the falls. Here's where my other shoes failed me, they would not grip the wet rock, at all! It's like someone lightly greased all of them. I tried to get up a herd path, leading up the ledges to the right of the falls, but I soon turned back, worrying more about getting down. My picture of the falls is sub-par, I will return.

Coppermine Shelter

Bridal Veil Falls

On my way up, I'd spied the continuation of the old Coppermine Ski Trail, right after the bridge over Coppermine Brook. Standing here for a moment, a British family of 5 came across and chatted with me for a moment, I then headed up the ski trail. For a trail that hasn't received any maintenance (that I could tell) in a long time, it was still very easy to follow, with a somewhat difficult to discern footbed. Climbing steeply up a sidehill section, with moss covered rocks, the trail then turns upslope and moderates. I followed the trail for about 0.7 miles, as it looped up above the falls, dropped down, and crossed the upper reaches of Coppermine Brook. Beyond the crossing, the trail got swampy, and more grown in, so I opted to turn around.

Coppermine Ski Trail

Coppermine Ski Trail

Small cascades on Coppermine Brook

Coppermine Ski Trail

Coppermine Ski Trail

Coppermine Ski Trail

Back down to the maintained trail, I envisioned skiing. There will be a return this winter. About halfway down, I caught up with the British family, who were surprised to see me. A light rain began to fall as I neared the car, though it soon let up. Some rumbles of distant thunder could be heard, as I headed out to check out a couple other places.

Hike #2: Lonesome Lake via Basin-Cascades

Trails: Basin-Cascades Trail, Cascade Brook Trail, Lonesome Lake Trail, Pemi Trail

Mileage/time: 5.6 miles, 1319' of gain, book time of 3:27, actual time of 2:40

On my way here, the skies opened up, and thunder roared through Franconia Notch. As I pulled into the Basin, the rain continued unabated, so I pulled out the map and took a look at my options. A convenient loop appeared, with some new trails, and the promise of flowing water. The rain stopped, and the sun came out, briefly. I don't like starting hikes in the rain, but if I get rained on during the hike, it's alright. Since it was now definitely wet, it was on with the Frankenshoes! Working my way down the short (paved) tourist path to the Basin, the various falls were running well, and were excellent to photograph in the flat light.

A brief moment of clearing

A nice pool above the Basin

Seeing signage across the river, I dropped down some ledges, hopped across the flow, and started up Basin-Cascades Trail. Thunder rumbled and rolled through the notch, not close, but still there. As I climbed, rain started, light at first, but soon became a downpour as I reached Kinsman Falls. Lightning flashed a couple of times, again far away, and the rain drowned out the sound of the falls. Times like these are great times to be in the woods. A half mile above Kinsman Falls, lies Rocky Glen Falls, which I viewed from a couple of angles. Along a wall near the falls, people had built tiny cairns on some natural shelves in the face. By the time I reached the junction with Cascade Brook Trail, the rain had stopped.

Kinsman Falls

Rocky Glen Falls

Tiny cairns!

Rocky Glen Falls

Now for a short A.T. foray! Climbing along the upper reaches of Cascade Brook, mostly on rocks, the trail passed the junction for Kinsman Pond Trail, and soon came out at the outlet of Lonesome Lake. Considering the rain, the views were pretty decent from the shore. Following the trail around, the Lonesome Lake Trail comes in, and I took it down toward the campground.

Cascade Brook Trail

Socked in Franconia Ridge from Lonesome Lake

West across the lake toward the Kinsmans

Quickly down Lonesome Lake Trail, the footing eroding and crumbly at times, I reached my final quarry of the day, the Pemi Trail. Descending, for the most part along the still stream-like Pemigewasset River. It was a lot of nice walking, though lightly used and grown-in in places. I-93 and the Franconia Notch Recreation Path (Bike Path) were only a stones throw away.

Along Lonesome Lake Trail

Soft footbed on the Pemi Trail

A representative section of the Pemi Trail

Swimming through the crowds at the Basin, I got back to the car and got out of there! Heading back toward Lincoln, I thought I'd see if Steve Smith's shop, The Mountain Wanderer, was open. It was, and Steve was in residence. I introduced myself, having met him once back in 2011, and we chatted about all things hiking. Purchasing a map of the western Whites (since the WMG maps don't include most stuff west of Moosilauke), I left as the store was filling up. Great to finally meet you (properly) Steve!

Steve had given me a card for a bookstore in Lincoln, as I was looking for an out of print book, but when I got there, it was hailing and I couldn't find parking. So much for hitting something on the way back! All the way across the Kanc, it rained, with varying intensity, until just before reaching Bear Notch Road. I checked out the viewpoints along the road, it was such a moody afternoon. I also stopped in some various places for some shots on my way home. Yet another great day in the mountains!

Along Bear Notch Road (Chocorua to left)

From Bear Notch Road

The Baldface/Royce Range from ME/NH border

Along 113

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