Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Hike

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we had beautiful and unseasonably warm weather so we decided to head up to Gunstock to bag a few more of the Belknaps. Unfortunately we had not managed to get in a lot of hiking this summer so it was nice to get out.

We parked at the base lodge and hunted for the trailhead. The information we had was vague and even though there were lots of cars around there were very few people to be seen. We hiked up under one of the ski lifts towards Mt. Rowe and then crossed over to the right. We found a mountain bike path that appeared to be a trail.

We followed this up and eventually ran into some other hikers. It was a steep climb and we were both winded. Apparently walking in our neighborhood is a bit different than hiking. Should have expected that.

We followed the trail to a cell tower that had lots of construction equipment next to it. Not exactly a pretty summit but it is what it is.

We crossed the ridge towards Gunstock and enjoyed the views of Winnipesaukee. The skies were blue with scattered clouds. As we looked to the north we could see the Presidentials were covered with snow.

We were surprised to find equipment set up on the mountain that tracks the movement of the Earth's crust. Living in the east I never think about earthquakes or shifting plates. We read the information signage and thought about how these mountains were created years ago.

As we continued on the ridge trail we became confused as it crossed over the ski trails. We lost the trail several times and at one point we were hiking up a steep grade under the ski lifts. Eventually we made it to the summit of Gunstock and stopped at the "Pub" to look out over the scenery. The ground had permafrost and was crunchy but there wasn't much in the way of snow. The resort had its snow guns prepared to go. They are scheduled to open up before Christmas. We crossed over to the Brook Trail and headed back down the mountain. This trail did have some snow on it.

The signage said it would take us 1 hour and 40 minutes to make it down. We took about 30 minutes which was fortunate because it was getting dark and cold! When we reached the car the moon was out and the sun had set behind the mountains.

This was an easy hike but with a few struggles in finding the trails. As long as the resort doesn't mind hikers stomping on their ski trails I would recommend it for the views from the summit lodge. Perhaps we'll get up there to ski this winter.

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