• Laura Ventresco

Hiking at Cannon; A Mountain to Table Experience

Updated: Feb 27, 2018

Peaks: Cannon

Miles: A Steep 4.4

Hike Date: 02/19/2018

Mountain to Table (Post Hike Eats): Beers and Adult grilled cheese @ The Woodstock Inn

Hiii Friends! Hope everyone had a fantastic President's Day weekend, and most definitely had today off for a long weekend. A 3 day weekend meant I had to hike something...obviously. The weather forecast called for rain after 3-4 pm, so we chose Cannon mountain for today. It's close! Only an hour and 15 minutes from Concord and a short hike for a 4000 footer at just 4.4 miles. I did this one about 2 years ago with John, but Luke and Luna both needed it. Both dogs are working to get their 48, and since I started before I had Luna, we've gotta catch her up a little bit.

Luke and I set off, ready for another fantastic day in the mountains. Warm weather, sun shining, and a Monday off from work; it doesn't get better than this. I decided to keep Blaze on leash today, see Waumbek blog post for explanation. This helped me out a ton as my pack was a tad on the heavy side (we'll call it training for backpacking adventures) and Cannon is STEEP. Steeper than I remembered. Blaze had no issue pulling me and my giant pack right up it at great speeds. (Let's be real... more like slow to moderate speeds).

We hiked along- kinda clunky at first. You would think considering the amount of hikes I've already done this winter season- that I would have my system down perfect by now. We stopped to change layers, we stopped to change traction. We stopped for other various excuses, *secretly* so I could catch my breathe. & Then we brainstormed how to get better next time, probably start hiking cold and wait until we warm up. Putting traction on before hand. I'm not sure anyone can win at the layers game. Welcome to winter hiking.

There were lots of fallen trees on Kinsman Ridge Trail. You have to get creative whether you are going over or under them. It's like hiking limbo... we recorded this for your entertainment. Don't mind my dramatic noises...

Alright Whoo!

We finally survive all the tree limbos, and the undeviating trail and are handsomely rewarded with a flat trail (happy legs) and a view you could write home to Mom about. Also some strong angry wind, we had to fight to get these pictures. Don't worry guys, we did it, for you.

We take off anxious to get to the top. So close we can taste it. After a quick jaunt in the trees we emerge again above treeline- and the observation tower on Cannon's summit is visible. As we continue our hike towards this landmark just ahead- things get pretty confusing. The blaze's disappear (covered in snow and ice), we can no longer see any sort of trail marker or sign that we are headed in the right direction. And. There's people skiing down the trail. This kind of throws us off guard as we have no idea if we still on our hiking trail, or a Glades trail meant for the skiers.

Eventually we pop out of the trees again, at the ski trails. No bueno, as we are not supposed to hike up this, and are definitely conspicuous when you have the cutest dogs ever hiking with you. I have also done Cannon before, and I remember for certain, it never connected to the slopes. I had been looking for a certain marker along, a binocular lookout on the side of the trail, but never came across it. We hike back down to the last blaze marker we saw, then follow it back up towards our destination. We explore side paths that look like possible trails with footprints, but all we find are dead ends and post holes, unable to find anything that resembles the actual hiking trail.

Frustrated, we try again. Hiking up and down and sideways. We chat with some hikers passing by, asking if they've hiked this before and explaining our predicament of the missing trail. Their solution was: F it, we'll bushwhack if we can't find it. Fair enough haha. Luke and I have just about had enough. The wind was brutal, even the dogs were confused and whining at us. We had checked the map, but the ski trail wasn't on it in relation to the hiking trails. We almost thought we would have to call it a day. We met some more hikers, and I decided to be really brave and ask if we could follow them up, in case they had better luck than us. They led us out onto the ski trail, but just a bit up, was a trail! We found it. Apparently whoever was breaking trail this winter- all cheated and took this little sidekick up the side of the slopes. I mean I guess if you are going to break the rules, a crowd's company.

We were so excited to be on trail again, and the summit was so close. We rejoiced all the way to the tower, Blaze even took a victory poop. Can you blame him? He thought we were going home! We didn't spend too much time on the summit. Its crazy windy up here, so we headed for the trees where you can safely snack without wind burn.

On our hike back down we decided that we needed to get delicious food after... did you guys know this was coming? I know you did... So the plan was fly down (both intentionally and un-intentionally. Due to the very steep trail, its not so much optional). Luke took Blaze since he pulls like crazy, and we almost literally- flew down the mountain. I laughed as Luke fell multiple times, until I was doing the same. We limbo-ed back through the 5 or 6 fallen tree points and were making great time.

Some people came up behind us, sledding down on their butts. We let them pass us but Luna was stuck in front of them. She is skiddish, and couldn't get around them so she was just running forward down the trail. Why does this happen to me?

Now Luke and I are full on trying to run down Cannon to get my dog, after these rude, ignorant people separated us. They couldn't stop for 2 seconds to let her get around them, and back to us. I fall 3 more times in my attempts of running. Luke being a ninja warrior- I can see is already at the bottom, with Blaze, and jogging through the parking lot.. Pretty concerning for me as that means these people literally scared my dog down the mountain, and then peaced out and couldn't even wait to make sure this little dog was re-united with her owner.

I finally make it down, Luke and the dogs are no where to be seen. I walk towards the parking lot, but don't see them anywhere. I remember her dog tag has my phone number on it, and decide I need my phone out of my pack ASAP. The whole time I am thinking- not again. Luna ALWAYS stays with me, she is my sidekick, BFF, bear fox. This doesn't happen to me and Luna...

I start my car figuring I can cover more ground driving, when Luke comes walking back towards the hikers lot. He used Blaze's leash to literally connect both the dogs together, and walk them back. How? He's amazing. He found Luna, brought her back safe to me. Explained how those A$$holes literally just went back to their car and were packing up leaving, with no regard to the fact that a dog was following them. I gave Luna a million kisses, and the dogs shared the rest of the bison burger I brought for them. How could they even think about leaving me when I provide them burgers?!

All of us are dead tired. The extra effort of running to find missing dogs is especially draining. Time to refuel.

And now I present to you guys, the newest addition to my blog:

From Mountain to Table

A place where I can pair a mountain to hike and then a nearby restaurant that you can go to to refuel after. An ultimate way to spend a weekend up north! Everyone that knows me, knows I love my food! If there's anything you can rely on me for it's where to hike, and where to eat. (Just don't rely on me to be on time, ever)

Step 1. Hike Cannon Mountain

Step 2. Visit Woodstock Inn and Brewery a couple exits up for this Adult Grilled Cheese and French Onion Soup. Plus don't forget a flight of beer. One of these is their 4000 Footer IPA, fitting, am I right?

Ok let's talk about the Woodstock Inn- their decor makes me want to move in. & This is just from what I saw in the restaurant and brewery part. There was a wait downstairs in the restaurant, but we found empty seats upstairs in the taproom. Plus, closer to the beer. Priorities. Since it was my first time here I wanted to sample the different beers that they had to offer. Ask for a flight, and you get to pick 5. Every single one was delicious and on point. Maple porter? Perfect. Frosty goggles? Cutest name ever. 4000 footer IPA? Well I just came from one, and this tastes exactly well earned. PLUS! They came in these tiny, beer glasses. Adorbs.

My food was also delicious. I ordered the adult grilled cheese which is pecan wood smoked bacon, tomato, and pig's ear cheddar on brewery spent grain bread. Mmmm! The Onion soup on the side paired nicely. It was topped with the meltiest cheese. I had a solid 12 inch cheese strand going when trying to take a bite.. you know that's some good melty cheese if you can get a cheese string that long. Service was also awesome. Even though it was clearly a crazy busy day for them, the 2 bartenders that served us were friendly, attentive, and smiling away.

Luke ordered the spicy mac and cheese, which I sampled. Next time I will force my hiking companions to let me photograph their meal as well so I can include it in this! It was super yummy, great flavor. The only change for next time, Luke said, is that he would do pulled pork instead of chicken. Seems more fitting with the spicy flavor this mac has.

Hope you guys enjoyed this read and my restaurant recommendation that went with it. Now grab some friends, head north, do some hiking, and then go get some delicious food and beers!

P.S. If you guys have favorite restaurants near the whites I'd love to hear them so I can make sure I'm not missing any of that good good post hike food

Happy Hiking Friends!

-Laura the Explorer

#hiking #hikenh #nh4000footers #frommountaintotable #hikethewhites #mountaingirl

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