Saturday, August 22, 2009

3 Peaks in 1 Day

Who knew that this summer would be so crazy? I haven't been on a hike since June and that was a failed attempt to summit Mount Flume. We turned back on that one when we noticed that my hiking buddy was stopping every hundred feet or so. I still think we could have made it to the top but I've learned not to push things too far. Fortunately, we have been biking a few times and managed to go for a few walks a week. I think this has kept us in better shape than in past years.

Today, I demanded that my husband put things aside and we go hiking. We were scheduled to go camping up in the Whites and try Flume again but with talk of tornado warnings and hail we decided to play it safe. Instead we went up to the Belknap Range and bagged 3 peaks.

We found the Mount Major parking lot fairly full around 11AM and set off on a trail that we hadn't tried. I believe it was the Beaver Brook Trail. It was a humid day and we were pouring sweat from our pores as we made our way up the 2 mile trail. The trail itself was a moderate grade with only a few challenging points. Once we made it to the higher elevation we enjoyed the breeze off of Lake Winnipesaukee and found our way to the old shelter. We had a bite to eat up there with lots of families. We did not know where the next trail started and had to ask one of the dads if he knew where it was. He didn't.

We decided to follow the blue/yellow trail that everyone else was taking back down. It was a good choice because that trail led us to a trail sign pointing us to our second peak, Straightback Mountain. We followed along the blue blazed trail and eventually came to the summit. It was much quieter! Only one other pair of hikers showed up while we were there. We had been hearing thunder in the distance and as we sat in the sun watching the clouds we wanted to push on to our third peak.

Mount Anna was a mile away from Straightback. There were lots of bare rocks and some nice cool dark trees. During this portion of the hike we came across scat from many different animals. Deer, coyote/fox, and possibly bear! We saw very few animals on the hike though. Except for the large bird that we startled out of a tree. We crossed over a stone wall and into the Boy Scout Reservation. A little ways from there we found a trail marker pointing to trails all over the reservation. The clouds were rolling in so we paused only for a minute or two and dashed back on the Anna/Straightback Link.

A few minutes later the rain started. A few minutes after that the sky opened up and we were getting soaked. Neither of us took out our rain gear as we were so sweaty from the humid hike that it wouldn't matter. Fortunately we made great time and avoided all of the electrical storms going through the area. During our dash we startled a red fox who was prowling about the trails.

We decided to take the blue/yellow trail back down to the parking lot. I believe it's official name is the Brook Trail. There was quite a bit of erosion on this trail and I could see that someone had done lots of maintenance. In truth all of the trails were well marked. I was surprised since our last trip in the Belknaps was filled with searching for our trails.

Unfortunately we didn't have a working camera for this trip so no pictures to actually post. I was happy that this 8 mile hike wasn't too challenging for me. I had very few knee problems and don't feel exhausted. I hope that next weekend I can actually get up to the Whites for a hike and tackle one or two of those 4k's. As it is for the Belknap List... I am now 50% complete. I just have Klem, Mack, West Quarry, Whiteface and Rowe to do.