Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Franconia Notch Extended Loop - Training Run 7/3/15

Justin Contois and I started running together in 2012 and have become good friends due to our mutual interest in mountains and trail running. When he said he was coming up to New Hampshire and Mass. this July and had a little time set aside for getting out into the mountains near Lincoln, NH, I began planning some possible routes for us to tackle. He had about 8 hours and was not opposed to an early start for the run, so something in the 8-10k of climbing and 20 mile range became the parameters that I tried to look for.

We eventually settled on running a loop that I had seen Adam Wilcox run a few weeks prior in his preparation for a few big 100 milers out West. The loop consisted of a full traverse of the Franconia Ridge starting by going up the Flume Slide Trail from the Basin parking lot, across the peaks of Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette. We would then come down the Greenleaf Trail to the base of Cannon Mtn. and up to the peak of Cannon via Kinsman Ridge Trail. Then we had a choice to make: whether to continue and tag the Kinsmans or start a long gradual descent to Lonesome Lake and back to the parking lot at the Basin. We eventually made the decision at the top of Cannon, or halfway up, to skip the Kinsmans and head back to the car without tagging any more 4,000 footers.

Picture based trip report:

Solo evening run up to Cannon Mtn. to check out the trail we would be climbing at mile 10-12ish.

Coming down the open, sidehill area on Kinsman Ridge Trail

Justin excited to take on the slide

Catching my breath on a section of the slide trail

Looking up one of the easier sections

First views from Mt. Flume towards Mt. Liberty and beyond towards the Kinsmans

Taking in the mountain air on the ridge

Nice view of the expanse

Mt. Lafayette summit looking across Franconia Notch

Arriving at the Greenleaf Hut

Quite an awesome mossy section on Greenleaf Trail

The rock outcroppings up-close that I always see driving through the notch

Cannon Mtn., our next target

Interesting gravel "tunnel" along the climb up Kinsman Ridge Trail

Justin coming up Cannon

Topping out near the summit of Cannon

Coming down the backside of Cannon on Lonesome Lake Trail

Almost to Lonesome Lake on some sections of bog bridges

Lonesome Lake looking back at the climb down Cannon

Waterfall on our way down to the Basin
Trip data:
18-20 miles, 7,300' climbing
7 hours, 30 minutes

Map of the route

Elevation profile

This was a great trip with a great friend and it was good to catch up with Justin and his family, who let me stay at their place the night before to get the early start. In addition to being a fun time out in the Whites, this was to be my last big training run for the second attempt at the AMC Hut Traverse. I am excited to get the trip started sometime in the next few weeks and hopefully complete my goal this time. I will be attempting to complete the 50 mile trip in around 15-16 hours, but the main focus will be just completing the route.

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