Monday, July 20, 2015


On a crystal clear, sunny day with low humidity, I enjoyed an "oddball" traverse of Cannon Mountain. Starting late morning, I went up the Hi-Cannon Trail route to the summit and 100-mile views, then down the Kinsman Ridge Trail to Coppermine Col. From there I bushwhacked down the Coppermine Brook valley to the Coppermine Trail, and exited to Rt. 116 after a visit to Bridal Veil Falls.

The trails weren't all that busy despite the gorgeous weather, and I saw a total of only about 10 hikers along the ascent to Cannon. The lower mile of Hi-Cannon Trail keeps your attention with its many small switchbacks. On some of these erosion has taken its toll.

One of the more pleasant stretches of this part of Hi-Cannon.

This upturned yellow birch is an interesting landmark just above the Dodge Cutoff junction.

A rough and rocky traverse high on the side of Franconia Notch.

First vista across the Notch.

The Cliff House is a cool overhang up above the trail on the right. You have to scramble up a bit to see it.

This ladder is the feature for which Hi-Cannon Trail is best known.

The ladder from above, also showing the ledge traverse at the top with  2 X 4's bolted on for extra foothold security.

The view of Franconia Ridge from the top of the ladder.

The first of the three outlooks in the section where Hi-Cannon Trail slabs across the face of Cannon's south ridge.

The lower end of Franconia Notch and Mount Liberty.

A great look at Franconia Ridge.

Lonesome Lake and the Kinsmans from the third and best outlook.

Close-up of the Kinsmans.

A great bird's eye view of Lonesome Lake.

The upper part of Hi-Cannon Trail follows a ledgy swath in places.

The weathered sign at the junction with Kinsman Ridge Trail.

On the Rim Trail approaching the summit I ran into Lizz Mague and her husband Dave. They were playing tourist with a Tramway ride after hiking Owl's Head the day before. The view from the tower were phenomenal, including Cannon's unique perspective on the Cannon Balls and Kinsmans.

Mount Moosilauke and its spurs, Mounts Jim, Waternomee and Braley, pop out behind South Kinsman.

Peering down at Coppermine Col, between Cannon and the Cannon Balls, where I would launch my bushwhack down into the Coppermine Brook valley.

The summit tower has a great look down into the Coppermine Brook valley. Out to the west it was clear enough to glimpse Macomb Mountain in the Adirondacks, 100 miles away.

Looking down Cannon's south ridge.

The long south view through Franconia Notch.

The classic view of Franconia Ridge beyond Cannon's East Peak.

After a thorough scanning of the views, I left the tower mid-afternoon and headed south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail. I enjoyed this vista over the  Coppermine Brook valley from a trailside outlook  below the Hi-Cannon junction.

A unique perspective on Mitttersill Peak, the NW spur of Cannon.

Then I headed down the notoriously steep, rocky and rough descent into Coppermine Col. Yikes!

I came down this once in winter and vowed never to repeat that. With crusty/icy conditions, I almost slid off this tricky sidehill.

Rather daunting looking back up.

This huge trailside rock marks the bottom of the steep descent.

The trail through Coppermine Col.

My bushwhacking buddy John "1HappyHiker" Compton did the Coppermine Brook valley whack in the reverse direction in 2009 and his report provided inspiration for today's trip. I found open fir woods on the upper part of the descent into the valley from Coppermine Col.

At 3000 ft. I came upon a headwater of Coppermine Brook.

A glimpse of Mittersill Peak looming high above now.

The woods were thicker as I followed the growing brook downward.

A small cascade high in the valley.

And another.

These woods seemed open on a late winter, deep-snow ramble into the middle part of the valley several years ago. In summer some areas were fairly thick with small conifers and, farther down, with hobblebush.

There were also some nice open ferny glades.

A particularly picturesque forest scene.

Some rougher whacking brought me down to the top of a ledgy cascade section on Coppermine Brook that I had previously visited on late fall and deep winter explorations.

The uppermost cascades in this lovely area.

Mountain avens was blooming on the ledges.

The cascades drop into a fine pothole.

The cascade at the bottom of the ledges.

A streamside scene beside the cascade. From here I bushwhacked up to the old Coppermine Ski Trail (built in the 1930s by the CCC) and followed it down to the Coppermine Trail near the bridge over Coppermine Brook.

I made the 0.2 mile side trip up the trail to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, always a gorgeous scene to behold.

I scrambled partway up for a closer look at the main falls, then headed back down the trail, stopping to snag a geocache Carol had placed here last year.

A Hermit Thrush was serenading as I descended through this beautiful stretch of mature hardwood forest.

I paid a quick visit to the "Bette Davis Cascade" and the adjacent plaque placed in the 1960s by the famous actress, then found Carol's other geocache along the trail before hustling out the final mile at dusk. Thanks to Carol for covering the store today, placing the two geocaches to find on the Coppermine Trail, and for picking me up at the trailhead!

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