Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mt. Rowe, Gunstock & Belknap Mountains – Solo Summer Hike


Mount Rowe (1,680ft)
Gunstock Mountain (2,240ft)
Belknap Mountain (2,382ft)

Total Elevation Gain: 1,349ft
Trails: Ridge (White) Trail, Saddle Trail, Blue Trail, Brook (Yellow ) Trail
Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.0 hours (includes stops at all summits)
Difficulty: Moderate

I bagged 3 more summits in the Belknap Range! I had put off peakbagging for 3 months to be able to take some AMC Rock Climbing courses. Today I wanted a hike that was an easy up and back down as I have more rock climbing the next day and  didn’t want to tire myself out with an 11-miler. I was expecting the Gunstock Mountain Resort to be empty, but I was wrong. There were folks walking around, swimming in the lake, and lots of folks on the Zip line. There were also folks taking the ski lift up to the summit of Gunstock and hiking down the Ridge (White) Trail.

That road up to Mt. Rowe was tough in the heat, it was hot with hardly any shade whatsoever! Now I know why I love winter hiking so much. I didn’t spend any time at the summit…..just  enough time to snap a few photos and then I headed out along the ridge toward Gunstock Mountain.

At the trailhead (2)

 Along the Ridge Trail

Cell Tower at the Mt. Rowe summit
The portion of the Ridge trail, just before the Yellow Trail junction,
is my favorite! I loved the open ridge and the views from it. 


 
That last portion of the Ridge trail (along the ski trail) to the Gunstock summit was steep.
Lots of loose gravel and soil made some spots slippery. At the summit I spent 20 minutes taking photos from the deck of the Panorama Pub and talking with the attendant of the Zip Tour. 



Along the Blue trail to the Belknap summit I met Bill of BRATTS
(Belknap Range Trail Tenders) who was raking the trail from the summit. 
At the Belknap summit a couple just left the tower so I had the
summit all to myself and spent another 20 minutes photographing,
and enjoying the 360 views and my PB&J sandwich in peace! 



Views from the Belknap Mountain fire tower (3)





On the way down, the Brook (yellow) trail crosses ski trails several times. I watched
as more folks came down the zipline above me hooting and hollering. I didn’t see any 
black  flies, but the mosquitoes were bad. I was able to hike the remainder in peace
with my head net protection. As I got to my truck, it started raining pretty hard. 
But it lasted only few minutes and the cool showers were a welcomed relief.

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