After 1.2 miles we reached the frozen lake. In summer the trails skirt the lake shore, in winter the "trail" leads straight across the lake to the hut. People were coming and going. We stopped in the middle of the lake to look back at our first view of the snow-covered Franconia Ridge.
Near the end of a long, difficult climb on Fishin' Jimmy, the trees are shorter and open up a grand view of Mt. Lafayette, the highest point on Franconia Ridge.
We reached the top of North Kinsman in time for a late lunch. From a popular lunch ledge just below the peak, we soaked up the sun and the spectacular, sweeping view of the Franconia Ridge.
Franconia Ridge; Lonesome Lake -- one of our waypoints -- is in the middle of the photoThe valley bottoms are mostly bare of snow. The woods and higher elevations are still snow-covered. If you step off the snow-packed trail you can easily sink into three feet of snow. The trail markers and trail signs are buried under the deep snow.
We finished our 8-mile round trip hike in the late afternoon, under a clear blue sky. Although I've hiked many of the high peaks in summer, this was my first winter hike up a 4,000-footer. A fine start to what I hope will be many more winter hikes.