Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mt. Klem, Mt. Rand & Mt. Mack

Hot!  That about says it all for today's weather.  Mere days ago we hiked in the Belknap Range on a day with highs in the mid to upper 50's.  Today it was 90+ degrees.  The heat sucked the energy right out of me and the last couple of miles were a slog.  That said, this is a great hike if you are looking for a trek in this area.

Hike Stats

Distance:  7.6 miles
Elevation Gain:  1,900'
Duration:  5 hrs.
Difficulty:  Easy to moderate

Driving Directions: "From NH 11A, 1. 7 mi. south of Gunstock Mountain Resort and 2.7 mi. west of NH 11, turn west onto Bickford Rd. In 0.2 mi. turn left on Wood Road, and in another 0.1 mi., just before reaching a house, bear left on a narrow, gravel road (sign). Follow this road for 0.1 mi. to a parking area in an old gravel pit." Belknap Range Trails

This hike follows a fire/logging road from the parking area for a material distance. In fact, much of the hike follows what appear to be old fire or logging roads and in some sections there are snowmobile trails. Key features include the Poorfarm Brook which is adjacent to the early parts of the hike, Round Pond which is rather large and a beautiful spot overall and there are occasional views near all three summits.

The total elevation gain of 1,900' was more a function of the many ups and downs on this hike as opposed to the elevation change from the parking area to the summits. Nonetheless, it is still climbing! And, did I mention how hot it was today?

Poorfarm Brook

Round Pond

We've left Round Pond and are on the Mt. Klem-Mt. Mack Loop headed in a clockwise direction towards Mt. Klem.  I would suggest that there is no preference when it comes to whether to take this loop clockwise or counterclockwise.
 Just one of the many views encountered.  Certainly the high temps have brought in the haze.

Don't miss this turn to the actual viewless summit of Mt. Klem, about 100 yards away.

Covering Mt. Rand was not in our original plan however, it was less than 1/2 mile away (each way) so we decided to capture it.  Don't be fooled by the distance as the drop from Klem and then the climb up Rand are both material.  And then of course you need to do it again on the return.

The summit of Mt. Rand is viewless but there are fine views like this one nearby. 

 The section from Mt. Klem to Mt. Mack is an easy trek.

We are back at Round Pond and if you look closely you can see the summit of Belknap Mountain in the background (with tower).

The circle of life!  Yes, that is a frog in the mouth of this snake.  The frog was still alive and was doing his very best to escape but I think he was doomed.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mt Anna; South & North Straightback Mountains

This was our second hike of the season and we decided to hike in the Belknap Range.  Monorails, which still exist in most locations above 3,000 feet in the White Mountains, are difficult to navigate so we are wimping out by hiking further South.

Stats for today's hike
Hike Distance:  5.9 miles
Elevation Gain:  1,750'
Duration:  4 hrs. 20 min.
Difficulty:  Easy to moderate
Driving Directions:  From Alton Mountain Road in Alton, NH drive 3.1 miles to the end of the road in a clearing (road turns to dirt just before it ends).  There are two clearings at the end of the road, one large and one smaller, providing plenty of parking space.  

Finding the trailhead is NOT easy.  I found the following extremely accurate directions on how to access the trailhead from the parking lot ( Without these in hand, we would never have found the Anna-Goat Trail!  For that reason I am repeating those directions below:

"Facing the parking area, turn left (west) and follow the wide dirt path (road) into the woods. You will see a sign for snowmobile route 22W (sign can only be seen after entering the woods). A gradual half mile descent brings you to a pond with a view of Straightback Mountain. At the end of the pond, the trail splits; follow the right fork. It then climbs onto a small hill, where a smaller path diverges to the right. Bear left and continue on the main snowmobile trail for 0.2 miles, ignoring any more branching paths, then turn right onto Anna-Goat Trail. Look for the wooden post and red trail markings."

After picking up the start of the Anna-Goat Trail we followed it directly to the summit of Mt Anna.  Though the trailhead itself was difficult to find, this trail and all the others we hiked today were very well blazed.  Some might even say over blazed.  Don't miss the short 200 yd. side trip to the Carbonneau Cave.  It is well marked and to my thinking worth the small diversion.

From the summit of Mt. Anna we used the Belknap Range Trail (blazed as BRT) to cross the ridge to the South Peak of Mount Straightback.  We continued on the BRT a short distance to the Quarry Spur Trail which would take us close to North Straightback (watch for this turn as it is easy to miss from this direction).  Once at the intersection of the Quarry Spur and Quarry Trails you must head northeast about 200 yards to reach the actual summit.  We then followed the Quarry Trail South to pick up the east segment of the Precipice Path for our return.

This hike was easy to moderate but, the Precipice Path pretty much goes straight down the mountain making it steep and challenging due to slipping on the sandy trail surface (often covered in leaves).

 Mother's Day was the day after our hike so I picked up this five burner stove for Sue.  Happy Mother's Day dear. 

Looks like a decent trailhead sign, right?

But, you'll notice that it is actually rather tiny!

 The cave is worth the diversion.   

 Really?  I can't fit in there!

These trail signs at the South Peak of Mount Straightback could use some touch up... 

There are not that many views on this hike.  This south facing view is towards Sunset Lake (largest) and two other small ponds.

 When heading NE on the BRT this turn could easily be missed so watch for it.

 The 'purple' blazing on the Precipice Path looks more like lavender to me.  I've never hiked on a lavender blazed trail before!