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05 March 2012

A Footloose Ramble in the Lonesome Lake Area

There have been several "un-Blogged" hikes that I've done over the past few weeks.   Since it has been awhile since I've added a new hike to my Blog, I decided to fill in a bit of a void by posting one of those unreported adventures!
Call it being free-spirited, or whatever, but I feel no compulsion to follow a trail all the way to the top of a mountain.  If you only want to go to some particular spot along the trail for a view, then why cannot that be your hiking destination?And so, being of that frame of mind, it will come as no surprise that one of my favorite types of hikes is a rambling "make-it-up-as-you-go" hike.
A couple of weeks ago in mid-February, I went up the Lonesome Lake Trail on a rare and delightful sunny day.  From the outset, I knew that Lonesome Lake would be at least one of my destinations on my rambling journey.  The 1.6 mile journey to the lake is a great hike that rewards you with terrific views for only a moderate amount of effort.
I recently learned that the lake was originally called Moran Lake and later dubbed Tamarack Pond.  In the late 19th century it was christened as Lonesome Lake by two fellows from New York who purchased the lake around 1876.  They stocked it with trout, and built cabins for their summer retreat (located on the opposite side of the lake from where AMC's Lonesome Lake Hut sits today).
Getting back to my hike, upon arriving at the eastern shore of Lonesome Lake, I decided to head northward to pick up the Around-the-Lonesome Lake Trail and then follow that trail to the Hut. 

From various locations along the trail there were the usual stunning views of the Franconia mountain range as viewed over the solidly frozen Lonesome Lake. 

Eventually, I sauntered my way to the Hut where I stopped to enjoy the lunch that I'd packed.  After lunch, it was time to think about some further ramblings to round out my day.  I headed northeasterly along the Cascade Brook Trail with the thought that I'd pick up the Dodge Cutoff Trail to link up with the Hi-Cannon Trail and then head eastward on the trail to return to my parked car at the Lonesome Lake trailhead.
Well, I did in fact take the Dodge Cutoff Trail, however when I arrived at the  Hi-Cannon Trail, I made a last minute decision to head westward (rather than eastward) on the trail.  I knew it would be a steep climb to reach the ledges that provide a birds-eye view of Lonesome Lake.  However, there was still plenty of time left in the day, and so why not?  As indicated at the beginning of this report, I often like to make things up as I go!
As expected, the trek to the ledges was indeed steep!  And, then there is that spot along the trail where you need to climb a wooden ladder to negotiate a rocky precipice.  The ladder was covered in snow and ice which was a bit disconcerting, but it was doable!

Even with the steep climb and the "scary" ladder, the side-trip was worth it to me to get the view overlooking the lake.

Following my visit to the Lonesome Lake overlook, I turned around and headed back down the Hi-Cannon Trail in order to link up with the Lonesome Lake Trail for a return to the trailhead parking lot.  The overall round-trip mileage for this modified-loop hike was just under 5 miles.   The route that I travelled is highlighted in yellow on the map below.

To sum it up, this was a fun journey of simply roaming around with no agenda or time-table to follow.


Ellen Snyder said...

John -- what a beautiful ramble. It is nice to be footloose. I like that you (Steve Smith is similar) write about the nice trails and sights you see along the way and not just the views. I like the ramble part. Thank you. Ellen

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Ellen,

Thank you for such kind comments! Although some of my “footloose” attitude is just me being me, there is a huge component that is a direct result of my admiration for the hiking style of Steve Smith who embodies the true spirit of “mountain wandering”! And yes, the vistas that one sees while hiking are very rewarding, but I wholeheartedly agree that there are many other components of a hike to be appreciated, such as the history of the area where you are hiking; the flora & fauna that you see along the way; etc.


Rita Wechter said...

Look like you had another beautiful day for a hike, John. Like Ellen, I enjoy the extras in your posts, and I always learn something from the historical facts and/or plant and animal sightings you include with your narration.
Looks like the climb up that scary ladder was worth it to get that great view of Lonesome Lake!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Rita! I always enjoy reading your comments. They are thoughtful, and often provide insights as to what piques the interest of those who read my Blog.


Ryan Linn said...

I'm glad you're getting out for some gorgeous hikes, John. You're making me feel awfully lazy, but I can at least enjoy the pics and the stories :)

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Ryan . . . Thanks for your comments . . . but you . . . lazy . . . NEVER! When you’re not out there hiking, you’re generating terrific hiking-related articles on your Blog (