In Charles Dickens's 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, the character named Scrooge encounters the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. None of my hikes have been "ghostly", and there is certainly no "Bah, humbug" attitude on my part about Christmas Holiday trekking!
For anyone who follows my Blog, you'll recall that just a few days ago I posted a report about a "Christmas Past" hike on Christmas Eve of 2009 (Click HERE). At the time of posting that report, it appeared that circumstances would prevent me from doing a hike on Christmas Eve of 2011. However, at the last minute, a 5 hour window became available to me for a Christmas Eve hike. Having the opportunity to do a "Christmas-Present" hike was a terrific gift.
(Call it a "Christmas-Present" Christmas present, if you will!) :)
The 5 hour window was all I needed to drive 20 minutes down the road to the trailhead for the Kinsman Ridge Trail for a short (4.4 mile round-trip) trek to the top of Cannon Mountain. I knew from reading recent reports of trail conditions that snowshoes were unnecessary. Some had reported using Microspikes but still experienced some slippage on a few segments of the steep and icy trail. I opted to use Kahtoola's KTS crampons which are more aggressive than the Kahtoola Microspike. As it turned out, this traction device was perfect for the conditions on this particular day.
The trek up the mountain was uneventful. Although I saw no other hikers, there were recent footprints in the light layer of snow, and it appeared that crampons of some type were also worn by whoever had proceeded me.
Christmas Eve 2011 was a beautiful day, and of course this produced some beautiful views! Especially nice were the vistas looking across the Franconia Notch toward the Franconia Mountain Range. As an added bonus, there were just enough wispy low-level clouds to further enhance the view. A couple of snapshots are shown below.
Even the Cannon Tower took on a certain beauty on this marvelous Christmas Eve day (photos below).
My 5-hour window for hiking prevented me from lingering on the mountaintop. However, in the brief time I was there, the short days of winter quickly transformed the views such that shadows were appearing in the ravines, and the ridges were tinted with muted shades of brown and red (see photo below).
To sum it up, I am very appreciative of my "Christmas-Present" hike, as well as my "Christmas-Past" hikes. Hopefully, for each "Christmas Yet to Come" my gifts will include an opportunity for yet another yuletide hike!