More Belknap Fun, Mt. Major via Boulder Trail, 5/10/13

With little time on Friday to hike due to driving the carpool both ways, I chose to stay closer to home and go straight to the Belknaps after dropping off all the kids in Concord.   I was able to arrive at a reasonable time at the Mt. Major trailhead, just before 9:00a, and started up the Boulder Loop Trail.  I’ve been to Mt. Major several times, but not via the orange-blazed Boulder Trail.

The Boulder Trail looks and feels less traveled than the Mt. Major and Brook Trails on the other (north) side of the mountain.  I found it a pleasant hike and not really difficult with only a few little ledge scrambles in the middle portion right before the trail leveled out for the last several tenths through a section of open pines and lots of blueberry bushes. All the trees now have spring green leaves, and the forest smells alive again, so I really enjoyed the whole trail.  I was quickly at the summit and was able to enjoy the whole thing all by myself, sort of a rarity for a popular, easy mountain.  I even got a view of a nice little undercast over the part of the lake.

The trail winds its way among the boulders on Boulder Loop Trail on Mt. Major.

The trail winds its way among the boulders on Boulder Loop Trail on Mt. Major.

A little undercast over the lake as seen from the summit of Mt. Major.

A little undercast over the lake as seen from the summit of Mt. Major.

Once at the summit, the hike was not over.  I had other things on the agenda for this hike, namely some redlining.  There were a few small trails and portions of trails we didn’t use for the Eastern loop last month, so with some careful planning with the map, I was off on a zig-zag pattern to pick up all those trails.

First, I headed over to South Straightback via the blue blazed Belknap Range Trail, so that I could pick up the small section of white blazed Quarry Trail between South Straightback and North Straightback that I hadn’t hiked.  After I arrived at North Straightback, I back tracked just a little bit to pick up the orange blazed Quarry Cut Off or Quarry Spur Trail.  This little trail led me back to a junction I had passed on the way to South Straightback via the Belknap Range Trail.  Back on the Belknap Range Trail, heading for Mt. Major, I made the turn onto the last new portion of trail for the day, the little section of yellow-blazed Brook Trail that we didn’t hike last month (we turned off on the green-blazed North Straightback Link).  Once done with that portion, it was quick hiking back down familiar trails to the parking lot.

Color-coded track of the loop hike.  The colored portions are new trail for me, and correspond to the color of the blazes on the trail.  Yes, there are lots of different colored trails in the Belknaps!

Color-coded track of the loop hike. The colored portions are new trail for me, and correspond to the color of the blazes on the trail. Yes, there are lots of different colored trails in the Belknaps!

Although it sounds like a lot, it was a quick almost 6 miles of enjoyable hiking.  I didn’t see anyone until I came to the Brook Trail for the last time, and then it seemed like I saw a lot of people and dogs!  In fact, as I was pulling out of the parking lot, several large groups were getting ready to start their hike.  I was just as happy to be blessed with a beautiful morning and be headed home for lunch!

Purple trillium on Quarry Cut Off trail, one of the first ones I've seen this season.

Purple trillium on Quarry Cut Off trail, one of the first ones I’ve seen this season.

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2 thoughts on “More Belknap Fun, Mt. Major via Boulder Trail, 5/10/13

  1. You are so right about the forest becoming alive again with the spring-green colors and the earthy fragrances. That is finally happening, even here in northern NH!

    What a stroke of good luck to witness the undercast over the lake! Such a beautiful scene!

    John

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