Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mt. Major - Solo Winter Hiking

Mt. Major (1,780ft)
Trails: Mt. Major Main
Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Duration: 1 hr, 55 minutes (includes stops along the trail and at the summit)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

This hike was an awesome easy workout! I wanted to make the summit in one hour and I did so! The only time I really stopped along the trail on my ascent was when I had gone off trail. I had to stop and search for a bit for those blue blazes. I had brought my snowshoes just in case, but didn’t need them as the trail was nicely packed. 
 
 

I took the Mt. Major Main trail all the way to the summit. It provides a short and direct route to the summit but near the top it has some really sketchy and steep pitches. I opted to take the alternate route to the left to avoid the ledges. I may be a crazy hiker girl, but I’m not stupid, the ledges were full of ice.
 Those ledges
There were great 360 degree views at the top but man, was it windy cold! I could only stand to stay at the summit for 10 minutes and while there, managed to use a new iPhone app I installed, the 360 Panorama. I really need practice at holding my iPhone as still as I can while photographing....tough to do when its windy out. But it's a fun app!
I didn’t take my backpack off to get to my big camera so I just took a couple of photos using my iPhone, so pardon the blurry iPhone photos. (insert whining) I usually like to stay a bit on the summits, but it was so cold here. I sat in the stone shelter at the summit and still couldn’t get away from the wind. I couldn’t wait to get down below treeline. (end whining)


 

Speaking of backpacks, I bought this Columbia Titanium backpack at Marshall’s for $40. I thought the design is rather interesting and decided to give it a try. The backpack opens like a clamshell so that you don’t have to unpack everything or dig down to the bottom like you would a top-loading backpack. I’m sure the concept works great, but I wouldn’t know as I didn’t bother getting my camera out of it once I got to the summit. But I do think that it’s very light and it didn’t feel like it until I put it on and tightened the straps. It was actually very comfortable and I’m looking forward to using it more on my winter hikes.
Back at the trailhead I didn’t bother to take my winter boots and Microspikes off. I quickly unloaded my gear and set off for Alton Bay and the docks at Shibley’s At The Pier. I was hoping the airplanes were still parked on the frozen lake. They were so I quickly got my winter coat on, grabbed my camera and headed out onto the ice. 
 
 
The ice fishing huts are fascinating! Each one is distinct!
 

Afterwards I had lunch at  Shibley’s At The Pier. I was seated at a corner table with great views of the lake. I had a delicious meal of Ahi Tuna wrap with Wasabi sauce.  I just love having winter lunches there. It was a treat to have a great view and watch everyone on the frozen Lake Winnepesaukee. 
 

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