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 Fun in the Belknaps! 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Fun in the Belknaps!
After a miserable day the weekend before, Jen and I were looking for something to make things exciting again. It was early in the week that Carole posted her open call for a Belknaps range hike. I had been wanting to get up there for a while now, and buying a map of the range a few weeks before from Carole reinforced that point. I was pleased to find Steve (OrangeGoogler) and Christa were on board, as well as Mike (Amicus) and eventually Russ (McRat). It was shaping up to be an awesome day that proved to deliver.

They day was already turning out beautiful, that morning. I decided to go light today and brought along my summer pack with a few extra pieces of warm clothing. While on Goffstown Back road a Buck deer nearly got flattened when he ran in front of our car. He was a good bodied boy with either 4 or 6 points (I was more worried with other things at that point than figuring out points :D ). One thing that I was already liking about the Belknaps was the short drive. In a hair over one hour we were pulling into the parking area on Grant road where Mike, Steve and Christa were already waiting. We pulled in and met Mike for the first time, and said hello again to Christa and Steve. Carole and her husband Richard came along not much after we did, with Russ close behind. We had hope to meet for 9:00 to start for 9:30. Instead, by coincidence, we met early and started early.

After spotting cars we drove over to Belknap Mountain Rd to start the fun. Carole gave us the option of doing Gunstock or Belknap in our 4 peak day. We all decided to go for Belknap, and took off on our way to peak number one, Piper. Immediately I was impressed with what these woods and hills have to offer. There would be a lot of variety, unlike many 4k peaks, with alternating woods type, view points continuously popping out on you, level walking interspersed with ups and downs, moss, dry pine needle beds and rock ledges. T was simply amazing!

We reached the summit of Piper within an hour. On Piper is a collection of stone thrones, created out of rocks by hikers over the years. Many took this moment to get there picture taken on the throne of their choice, and we all took in some rather stunning view panoramas. Carole told us if we wanted the !*TRUE*! Summit of Piper we just had to walk another couple of minute off to the side of where we were. After a short break we looked off to our next destination, Belknap, with its tower, views and plane crash wreckage.

We ambled along at an easy pace down into the col between Piper and Belknap, making the short pitch up to the fire tower and summit cabins. We skipped on up to the top to check out the views from the uppermost platform (the cab was of course closed this time of year) while picking out peaks on the horizon thanks to the ‘gospel according to Scudder’! With the wind howling most of us chose to make it quick up there as it was rather chilly. So we went back down and chomped down lunch while we chatted away. Carole and Richard came back up from the trail that ran behind the tower shack asking if we wanted to visit the plane wreckage. So Steve, Christa, Jen Carole and I went off, following a flagged herd path down a rather steep pitch to the wreckage of a small plane crash from the early 70’s in which 3 people died. Carole said it took a YEAR before the wreckage was found, and having been down there I could see why. Although not far at all from the tower, the woods were heavily grown in and the steep pitch is one only hikers would ever think of going up or down. We returned back to the tower to continue on to destination three of the day, a little gem of a pond called Round Pond....

Making our way down the side of Belknap we had to go down this rather interesting boulder field. This was the only spot Carole feared, not knowing if it was wet or not. Thankfully it was dry enough, and we all made the sharp drop down on through the boulders with only a few incidents. After that it was a brisk walk through more gorgeous woods, with some minor ups and downs, and a bit of muddy spots. Round Pond came to us at first as a glint shining through the trees. We wound our way around and down to the trail junction, which served double duty as a jeep access road for the tower on Mack. We all went down to a small view spot on the shore of Round Pond and took stack of the situation. It was not quite 2, and we were all feeling pretty good, so we decided to push the day and make another 2 peaks. So we snacked a bit, there on the shore of the pond, and got ready for the last jaunt of the day.

We followed the Jeep trail along the shore of the pond, talking idly and enjoying this gem of a water body. We hit one spot of mud that looked a little bad, but since we did not see any Sherpas knee deep in there we pressed on. Mack is a nice quick up with good footing and view points to make your heart sing. It was instantaneous with all of us that we were glad to have extended the day to these other two peaks. We walked past the small tower, up over the little ledge to the summit and the old wind powered generator, now defunct and weather worn. We took a few quick pictures and made the final push to the last summit of the day, Klem.

Once again we got to walk along in some absolutely beautiful woods in the small col between Mack and Klem. It once again was a pretty short walk with everyone stopping at a point on the trail right next to the herd path to the !*TRUE*! Summit of Klem. Everyone but Carole, Christa and Richard picked their way along the flagged herd path to the tiny summit sign, tapping it real quick and snapping pictures. We returned back (generally) the way we came and all sat down for another long break of water, food and fun.

By now all of us were ready to head out before sunset, so we all got up and got moving. Carole chose to take us down a herd path which would be a more direct route out, rather than head back down to the jeep trail and walk out that way. So with her in the lead we moved out along the flagged trail, dropping down off the side of Klem. After another comparatively short walk we found ourselves back on the jeep trail, walking through a recent clear cut, slopping around in soft sand and mud. A few turns in the trail later and the cars came into view. Trails end and with just a little bit of daylight left.....perfect!

Mike, who was heading east instead of west like the rest of us, took off alone while the rest of us hopped into the spotted cars for the pick-up at the other trail head. We zipped out to Belknap Mountain Rd, got Russ’ and Carole’s cars and parted ways to cap off a spectacular day.

This turned out to be another “gem” hike. It was an absolutely SPECTACULAR day, and I’m very grateful to Carole for setting this hike up. Im very much looking forward to returning to the other 12 peaks, and coming back to just visit, revisit and explore some more. If you contact Carole she can get you a copy of an EXCELLENT trail map with more information on it than you could possibly ever use. Its well worth the few dollars she asks in return for copy and postage fees. She has even said she is trying to get her hands on a similar one for the Ossipee range........which I’m so anxious to get my hands on that one too!

B.


Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:03 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Pictures

B.


Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:02 am
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Leg Burner
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Hey Brian - The Belknaps are a old family favorite. You write a good TR!
Especially liked the sunset shot. What a day to be outside!


Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:42 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Carole has me extremely excited to give the Ossipee range a try now as well! I think this area is going to become one of my favorite "non WMNF" hiking spots. With the trail network one can make any length of hike from quick to all day, hard or easy, and all a short drive from me.

B.


Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:03 pm
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Leg Burner
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Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:22 pm
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Location: seacoast NH
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YES! that's why we loved it so much when the children were little. A doable excursion with pay-offs and so nearby.
Plus- timed with the blueberries rippening these peaks made for some very tasty hikes.


Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:20 pm
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Nice Pictures and TR. Isn't it great when some of the better weather of the week lines up for the weekend. :)

Chet


Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:43 pm
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