Summertime on the Slopes – Tecumseh & Cannon, Hikes No. 8 & 9

An adventure packed weekend is one to get excited for. I would have been happy with a one mountain weekend, but got a two mountain weekend. These two mountains couldn’t have been any different.

Tecumseh – Friday, June 8 

Rarely, very rarely is the weather absolutely perfect for an entire weekend in the White Mountains. New England is renowned for constantly changing weather, and in the mountains it can change in a flash. In the summer it is either too hot, too humid, kind of chilly, raining, or a combination of all within a very short span of time. We lucked out.

We were out the door at 7am as planned. To me it feels good to run on time for any hike, but particularly this day since I had a Girl Scout event in the evening. Arriving at Tecumseh (aka Waterville Valley Ski Area) felt exciting to me. I’ve skied this mountain before, but never hiked it. This hike was also different for another reason. I was training for backpacking, that’s right, my backpack (or rather one I borrowed from Anton) was weighted. I could have brought up the normal backpacking gear, but why? I don’t need any of that stuff for a simple day hike. Instead I packed all the foods I have always wanted on top of a mountain, but never wanted to carry. After that workout we would need the calories!

We parked right in the ski area parking lot, then crossed the road to proceed up a little trail carved out. I instantly felt warmed by the sunshine peaking through the deeply forested hillside. I grew up in the lush, deciduous forests of Connecticut. This part of the Mt. Tecumseh Trail looked like my childhood home. Some of the trees still maintained the lime green leaves of springtime. As Anton would say, the world looked like a salad bowl.

Immediately after a creek crossing we started ascending. The backpack made every step feel like twenty. The weight was all concentrated in one area of the backpack making it feel even heavier than it truly was. My back was in pain. I thanked all the stars in the sky that it wouldn’t be this way when I actually go backpacking in a couple weeks. The weight will be about the same, but more evenly distributed.

We found a lovely lookout going onto a ski trail with a view of the Tripyramids. Anton played with the snow canons, and clearly I did not like the Tripyramids too much…

The pack felt heavier and heavier, I was relieved when we reached the summit. After our usual photo op we enjoyed a much deserved lunch of olives, pickles, bread, mustard, smoked herring, two types of cheese, cookies, and prosseco! Best hiking lunch ever. I love my life.

Going down was very tough on my knees as a result of the weight. I will definitely be traveling very minimalist when I go backpacking. All in all an amazing day, I’d highly recommend this for families with young children as a first time 4,000 footer. Only 5 miles round trip and a nice gradual incline for the most part. The best part? I made it just in time for the scouting event!

Cannon – Sunday, June 10

The alarm sounded off at 5:30am, completely ignored it. I rolled over on my side five minutes later and it was actually 6:30am. Normally I am quite good at waking up, but this morning was different. The night before Anton and I went to the climbing gym, I managed to climb a five story elevator shaft turned climbing wall. Very proud of this accomplishment, another climbing milestone reached! The 150 feet or so also exhausted me.

We didn’t leave Anton’s house till 8:30am. That’s fine, Cannon is a short 5.6 mile trip, plus we didn’t plan to start until after lunch so we wouldn’t have to carry food. Our first destination was the Sugar Hill Lupine Festival. Absolutely breathtaking, I died and went to heaven.

Enough of that, onto the adventure! Anton was feeling a bit lazy, and I secretly would not have minded basking in a meadow of lupines all day. Needless to say there was a bit of complaining going on, but I did my best to ignore my desire to do nothing and encouraged Anton to hike on as well. This is best for us, laziness is bad.

As we hiked up the mountain I began to realize that Cannon is the exact opposite of Tecumseh. Cannon is hard and steep. The further we went the more sketchy the trail became.

Finally we connected to the Kinsman Ridge Trail and the trail was very gradual until we reached the summit. This part of the trail vaguely reminded me of the seacoast woods in northern Maine.

You cannot miss the summit of Cannon, it has a fire tower crowded with people who took the gondola up. I kept seeing little kids panting who hiked 500 feet on the flat trail and up the fire tower. They’re probably kids from a city who don’t even know the definition of exercise. I have so much pity for those children who rarely get outdoors. It was good to see that those kids were outside, but I wish the parents had them hiking. The child that is but a sparkle in my eye now will go ‘hiking’ (baby backpack) as a baby. It is important to a child’s physical and mental development to have them outside. End rant.

We went down the Kinsman Ridge Trail to Lonesome Lake. Oh my goodness was it hard! Climbing down this trail required a great amount of crab walking since I felt totally out of my element here. Eventually we hooked onto Cannon Ball Trail and hiked to Lonesome Lake Hut. It was odd seeing Lonesome Lake this time of year. Last time you could walk clear across the lake from all the ice that formed.

After refilling our water supply we continued the last 1.5 miles back to the car. On the way Anton and I bumped into one of his former co-workers! They hiked the Kinsmans and out of luck they caught up to us. It made the trail go by quickly to converse with new people. I have always loved finding new companions on the trail. My first with Anton was a White Mountain 4,000 footer, we got to know each other there. Spending time in the wilderness with someone is a very personal activity.

Hygge is a Danish word which has several definitions, but the best definition I have seen is “creating togetherness”. Hygge is also often referred to as a cozy or intimate atmosphere. The wilderness has a way of making people come together, all of the sudden complete strangers are friends.

Trail Tips: If you’re training yourself for backpacking, that’s awesome, I’m so proud of you. Don’t do what I did, yes the lunch was spectacular, but my back is in shambles. Pack a bunch of clothes or the actual stuff you will take backpacking. The concentrated weight was terrible. Also, wearing a backpack that fits you comfortably is crucial. Backpacks are like bras. Wear the backpack that fits you otherwise it won’t serve its purpose.