A hiker friend of mine came up with the label “View from the Cheap Seats” one day while a group of us were sitting atop South Doublehead mountain, gazing from the ledges down over a wooded valley to the distant village of Jackson, feeling like we were all sitting at the top of the cheap bleacher seats in a ballpark watching life pass on by.
Franconia Notch from both sides
The Franconia Notch area was once home to the iconic New Hampshire figurehead hanging from the cliffs of Cannon Mountain known as “The Old Man of the Mountain”. Unfortunately, the Old Man crumbled and finally tumbled down into the valley below back in 2003. Ah, gravity. The two hikes I will highlight in this entry start from the same parking area (Cannon Mt. Tramway) but ascend opposite sides of Franconia Notch.
The first hike, to the Old Man’s former hangout, is Cannon Mt. which features a tramway to the top of the ski slope, as well as a viewing tower for all season adventurers. My journey travels about ¾ of the way to the Cannon Mt. summit (4100 ft.), the last ¼ being a far easier hike, completed in perhaps a half hour.
|The Kinsman Ridge Trail|
The Kinsman Ridge Trail (part of the Appalachian Trail) begins on the western side of the notch, climbing steeply almost immediately through the hardwoods after leaving the Tramway parking lot. The trail parallels, and at one point joins, the ski trails for much of the upper part of the 1.5 mile hike (approx. 1.5 hrs.). This steady, rugged climb enters into the scrub pines after veering away from the ski slopes eventually leading to a side-path which I feel offers the most spectacular view of the Notch and Franconia Ridge. The photo’s I offer support this opinion far better than I ever could with words .
|The left side of Franconia Ridge looking east.|
|The top of the former Old Man in the Mountain Head.|
|The right side of Franconia looking southeast.|
|Old man with a beer!|
|Below Eagle Cliff.|
|The Eagle Cliff Pass looking west to Cannon Mountian.|
|From the cabin looking towards Mr. Lafayette.|
I hope these photo’s give the viewer a real sense of the mountainous regions above treeline here in NH.