Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cannon Mountain - 1st Solo Hike

Cannon Mountain (4,100ft)
Trails: Lonesome Lake & Kinsman Ridge Trails
Elevation Gain: 2,400ft
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 5 hrs
My 4000+ Peaks #6
Listed 4000+: #36
Difficulty:  Moderate

Today I solo hiked Cannon Mountain. It's my very first solo hike and a gift to myself in celebration of my 52nd birthday tomorrow! Originally I was supposed to hike to Hedgehog Mountain with a meetup group but I had transportation issues and was not going to be able to meet them at the trailhead in time. So instead, I hiked Cannon Mountain in the later morning.

I packed my backpack with my usual maps, compass, survival and first aid kits. As well as with my raingear and clothing to keep me warm. Filled my Camelbak full with ice and water and doubled my food supply. Since I was hiking alone, I packed in anticipation of spending the night. I left my itinerary and emergency instructions with my family. And I posted to my Facebook wall where I planned to hike with the promise to "Check-In" along the trail as well.

I got to the Lonesome Lake Trailhead parking lot and it was full so I ended up parking along the road next to the Hiker Information cabin. Found out that they didn't require a $3 parking fee and that my truck wouldn't get towed.



The start of the trail winds its way through the Lafayette Place Campground. I continued on the trail with several people ahead of me; a French couple followed by a couple with their 3 children. The oldest girl, who looked to be about 13 years, constantly complained about not wanting to be on a hike. In a few minutes I was at the Hi-Cannon junction and took it while the French couple and the family continued on along the Lonesome Lake trail.





Along the Hi-Cannon trail I came to a junction where there were no signs. But a paper note and a stick arrow placed on some boulders pointed in the direction I had come from. I wasn't sure which way I should have gone and decided to continue straight. If I had to, I could always turn around and go back.



In hindsight, I should've  taken a look at my map again. But because I didn't, I'm now writing that I should've taken that sharp right to continue on the Hi-Cannon trail. Because eventually, I ended up back on the Lonesome Lake trail, just ahead of the family with the whiney teen girl.

The whiney teen girl and her younger brother caught up to me and as I let them pass, I asked if they were having any fun. The teen girl replied in a sassy tone that she didn't want to be hiking and she wasn't having any fun because it was tiring! I tell ya, whiney teen girl was not a happy hiker! LOL! 



Eventually we reached  Lonesome Lake where they sat and waited for their parents and younger brother to catch up. I took some photos of the lake and the LL AMC hut. There were several more groups of hikers and dogs that had come up behind me and they went onto the hut. And not wanting to take the Dodge Cutoff trail, several hikers on their descent asked where the Lonesome Lake trail continued onto the campground.





The French couple who had got there ahead of me was busy studying maps and then went onto continue along the trail around the lake. I followed  as well stopping to take more photos as I went along.








There were several groups of hikers that were making their descent, all of them saying that there wasn't much of a view at the summit due to the clouds. At the Kinsman Ridge/Lonesome Lake trail junction I stopped to chitchat with two couples who were resting on their descent. They both commented how steep the Kinsman Ridge was, warning me that I should pack my camera. I did take their advice and packed my camera away, I could take photos with my iPhone if I had to. And I put on my jacket as the temps were dropping.



The Kinsman Ridge trail wasn't too bad in the beginning. But as I ascended, it got steeper. And there were many spots of large boulders that I had to scramble. I passed more groups of hikers on their descent, and every so often, reminded myself to turn around and look at the view.




Half a mile to the summit, at the Kinsman Ridge/Hi-Cannon junction (a-ha!) I stopped to chitchat with a couple and their two children. They told me that they had come up via the Aerial Tramway and were hiking down. I told them that I was solo hiking as a birthday gift to myself. They congratulated me but also told me that I should not be hiking alone. I hoped that they would have a good time and be safe on their descent despite being dressed in street clothes and shoes and with no hiking gear.

It took me 3 hours to ascend the summit, and everyone and their grandmother was there. There wasn't much for views as it was cloudy and the wind picked up.










I spent 30 minutes resting and eating my lunch. 5 minutes of which were spent trying to shoo away a dog who wanted my sandwich. He wasn't on a leash and eventually a couple called for him and he left me alone. With so many folks at the summit, I couldn't wait to leave!

I took the Kinsman Ridge and Lonesome Lake trails on my descent. There were certain parts of Kinsman Ridge trail, the timber puncheons trail along Lonesome Lake, as well as the bottom portion of Lonesome Lake trail that are flat. So when I could, I ran on my descent. I made it back down to the trailhead in 2 hours.

I was happy that I had hiked to this summit on my own. I didn't venture off trail and I maintained a pace that I was comfortable with. While on trail, I was careful to take deliberate steps, to make certain I didn't fall. Not once did I ever doubt my own judgment. And there were many times along the trail when I knew I was alone. The solitude didn't make me uneasy, but rather, it was refreshing.

But I was disappointed that I had not stayed on the Hi-Cannon trail to experience the ladders and the Lonesome Lake views. So I plan to go back again making sure to hike the Hi-Cannon trail and taking my time to take in both the experience as well as the views.

4 comments:

Rebecca Thielen said...

Awesome and inspiring! Really enjoyed reading about your solo hike. Great pictures. I think I need to post more pics on my page.

Peace,

Becca

Jobiwan said...

Happy birthday! What a great gift!

JamNSam said...

Happy birthday! What a great gift to give yourself. Even though it is nice to share the views with people, were you glad you did the trip solo?
It seems as though you ran into enough people as is, and soloing the hike may have been an all around better experience. Awesome pictures, too!

Lovey's Adventures said...

Thank you Rebecca, Jobiwan and JamNSam! :) JamNSam, yes I'm glad I solo hiked. Honestly, I read "There Are Mountains To Climb" and that's what inspired me to try solo hiking. The weather wasn't all that great but I loved the accomplishment!