Short and simple with great views pretty much describes Kearsarge North. This makes it a favorite to return to, plus I wanted to check out the work done on the fire-tower this autumn. We had a remarkably clear, windless day to go and visit our old friend. There was some crunchy snow right from the get go, but good traction and dry conditions on the lower half of the trail. As we approached the lower ledges more and more ice appeared along the trail. After skirting around it for awhile we stopped and put on the microspikes. If there were some sort of gear between micros and full crampons they would have been useful on what basically became a frozen brook trail.
Trail conditions were not ideal, but the air was clear and crisp, and the sun was bright which goes a long way towards improving a hike. As we approached the summit and the tower came into view we had a good look at the new cedar roof. Getting closer we could see that many of the beams supporting the cab of the tower had been replaced. The old timbers were piled below, hopefully for eventual removal. True to form someone had dragged some of them over to a cleft in the rocks and made some benches where they attempted to burn some of the other timbers.
On the summit we had lunch in the cab of the tower. Emma did her usual ravenous dog impersonation. A few people including a couple of accomplished hikers we spoke at length with came and went while we ate. The hike down was done with some extra caution. Most we passed on the way up were wearing micros, but there were some bare-booters, (more accurately some bare-sneakers!) Despite tricky conditions on the trail it was a great day out! Emma did fine and is no worse for wear today.