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24 December 2011

Christmas-Present: Cannon Mountain

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!


Mark Truman said...

Nice Christmas present (both the spikes and the hike). I was going to say that the first picture of Franconia Ridge was my favorite - until I saw the last one. Spectacular! Merry Christmas John!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Mark! Best wishes to you and Natalie for a delightful holiday season!


Ellen Snyder said...

Absolutely beautiful John! What a wonderful Christmas gift - one that we received as well. Such a perfect day for hiking. Ellen

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you, Ellen! It’s terrific to read that you also were the recipient/beneficiary of a wonderful Christmas Eve hike. It appears that Santa is indeed watching and knows what we hikers like! Guess we must have been good!? :)


Karl said...

Simply wonderful pictures, John! I love "snowy" pictures because it really makes the sky look like a deep blue. You really captured this area beautifully! I'm glad you were able to get out on Christmas Eve and share it with us.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!

Take care,

1HappyHiker said...

Karl . . . thank you! I could be wrong (it happens!), but I think this is Lylah's first Christmas! But regardless of whether it was her first or her second, I just know that she contributed to the joy that you and Jill experienced during this holiday season!

Looking forward to many more of your excellent postings during 2012!


Jim S said...

It sure looks like you had a great day to hike John.
It sure looks a lot different then when I was there in June. I agree on the last picture of the ridge,awesome. Merry Christmas.

1HappyHiker said...

Hey Jim . . . thanks for your nice comments!
Regardless of whether it’s a June or a December visit to Cannon, I think you’d agree that those views across the Notch toward the Franconia Range are always impressive!


Summerset said...

Beautiful day - what a nice early Christmas present!

Thanks for the shot of the Kahtoola KTS crampons. Seems like sharp pointy traction is the accessory of choice recently, and I like the looks of these. There definitely is a need for something when the Microspikes aren't quite enough, yet full crampons are overkill.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and will have a happy New Year!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset,

Here’s hoping that 2012 brings “happy trails” to you and everyone reading this Blog!

Yup, in this winter of discontent with our snow-draught, there does indeed seem to be the definite need for traction on icy trails. I’m content with the Kahtoola KTS crampons, but think that similar light-duty crampons would do an equally good job, such as the Hillsound Trail Crampon.

I just read about your trek to Moriah, as posted in your Blog (
Sounds like you guys also needed greater traction than what is provided by Microspikes!


Steve Smith said...

Great report, John, and beautiful pics. Those Kahtoola KTS crampons look interesting, and ideal for the current conditions.


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Steve!
Yup, the current conditions are certainly atypical. Wonder if there is some sort of Indian "snow dance" we can do to change things around and bring on some snow!? :)


Philip Werner said...

Beautiful pictures. I'm heading up Cannon in a few weeks. I hope I get as awesome views as you. I'm headed up Moosilauke in a few days.

1HappyHiker said...

Best of luck to you Phillip for great weather on your trek to Cannon, as well as to Moosilauke!

Thank you for your comments!

Rita Wechter said...

Your Christmas Eve hike looks like it was a splendid outing, John.
I believe you might have more snow in the New Hampshire mountains than we have in some of the Utah mountains right now.
Happy New Year!

1HappyHiker said...

Wow! That's fascinating Rita that we might have more snow that your location in Utah!

If you care to access the link below, it shows the current snow depth in NH, as well as the rest of New England, plus NY. My location in NH is in the northern part of the State where the western border begins to narrow. Or, you could say where VT begins to encroach upon NH! :))