Kinsmans from RT116

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything substantial. I have a tough time dedicating time to writing new posts, even though I’ve been hiking. Additionally, the site was down due to a failed WordPress upgrade and took some time to recover.
Anyway, here is another brief trip report from the past weekend. I hit up the Kinsmans from RT116 which was a nice approach that afforded me some quite trails mixed with busy trails. I went up Mt Kinsman trail and checked out Bald Peak/Knob. The spur trail is only .2mi and very easy side trip. This was an unexpected highlight of the trip. The views west were amazing and this might be a great sunset hike destination. After the spur, Mt Kinsman trail felt a bit winding and long steady elevation gain. It wasn’t bad and offered some lush greens and wet woodsy feel, but felt a little longer than it really was. I soon reached the junction of Kinsman Ridge Trail and started my way toward the north summit.
I met and chatted with a few AT thru hikers. Given the time of year, I ran into both NOBO and SOBO hikers which was nice. I offered my Skittles to a couple young guys southbounding as they looked like they needed a push up the last stretch of North Kinsman. It was only 10am but they were still grateful. The low cloud ceiling didn’t provide much for views, but squeaked out a couple nice pics. The bounce over to South Kinsman is quick and easy. While up there, I watched a glider enjoying the firm westerly winds.
As I was heading down the surprisingly steep and rocky Kinsman Ridge trail from South Kinsman, I leapfrogged a woman from England who was southbounding for a couple months and going as far as she could within her time constraint. It was enjoyable to listen to her views of the trails so far, not to mention her accent. She mentioned it was a bit slower going through New Hampshire than she expected, but she was still doing well. It was obvious when we got off the scrambles that should pushed a much stronger pace. We chatted and leapfrogged all the way to Eliza Brook Campsite. I dug out the last of my sweets and offered it to her while we rest a moment at the camp crossing. We continued until the junction of Kinsman Ridge trail and Reel Brook trail. She was heading over to Beaver Brook Shelter which was another 7-8 miles.
Just as she continued on, an older northbounder was coming. He asked about the trail up the Kinsmans and to the Lonesome Lake Hut. He was feeling a bit beat and was struggling emotionally with finishing out the AT. I tried to offer as much encouragement, but had to be honest about what lay ahead. He had trudged through the mud in Vermont and only covered the first of the NH peaks. He fell 3-4 times coming down Beaver Brook trail. He mentioned he was only covering a mile an hour which would put him at the hut nearing dusk. I explained he could either hold up at Eliza Brook Camp or push over the Kinsmans, once up there, you’re sort of committed to continuing over. He set off, uncertain which he’ll do, but I think I gave him the information he needed.
I continued down Reel Brook trail. I suspected this was a little used trail, but was happy to see it was fairly wide. Well the first half mile was a little narrow, but after that was as wide as a road. The grade dropped quickly but footing was decent. It was a bit wet in spots and there were a few small crossings which were manageable given the low water levels. Along the way I noticed I was following a few fairly fresh(it rained the night before) animal tracks. I’m not good with track identification so my mind went to the worst. I went on alert for a while hoping they were dog prints, but I found no other shoe prints to accompany them. Each seemed to be 3-4″ across which made it a fairly large animal.
Once the trail crossed the power lines again, it got wider and faster. I was cruising along about a mile to the road when a large black animal rounded the corner. I hesitated and was happy to see it was a dog, but he started barking a bit aggressively and approaching slowly. I stopped and noticed his owners rushing up behind him to restrain him. He wasn’t charging but more protective/defensive so I held back and waited for the restraint. The owners were very apologetic and disciplined the dog as I passed by.
I reached Reel Brook Road and walked the half mile to RT116/Easton Valley Road. It was a nice 3 mile return to the trail head near the Tamarack Tennis Camp. The views toward the Kinsmans from the road were great.
It was a great 15.5 mile day, in all, about 12 on the trail.

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