View Full Version : Piper/Belknap/Round Pond 10/25/09

KD Talbot
10-28-2009, 08:07 PM
View Northeast from Belknap Firetower

Piper 2044' /Belknap 2382'/Round Pond 10/25/09

Piper Mountain Trail/Belknap Mountain Trail/Boulder Trail/Piper Mountain Link Trail

8?Miles 1200'?Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Saturday it rained. Sunday we slept late and had to get home early. It was off to the Belknaps again. I had wanted to explore Round Pond since spotting it from the firetower on previous trips. From the firetower's vantage several ponds can be seen to the south, but there is one that is different from the rest. It is obvious it sits higher than the others, nestled between a couple of bumps known as Mount Klem and Mount Mack on the ridge known as the Belknap Range as it stretches way southeast from the highest bump known as Belknap Mountain.

View to Belknap from Piper
After a swift climb to Piper and then on to Belknap, we turned south and followed the East Gilford Trail to its junction with the Boulder Trail and began the descent of the south face of Belknap. The ledges were slippery from the previous day's rain and the going was a little more treacherous than I had expected to find. The descent steepened and soon we were picking our way through boulders in an impressive talus field. Sections of this field can be spotted from the ledges on Piper Mountain belying its presence, but from that vantage I found it was hard to appreciate the size and volume of medium size boulders until actually scrambling across them.

Boulder Field

At the bottom of the boulder field the the trail again enters the woods and easily descends, then rises again as it winds its way to Round Pond. Eventually a red blazed trail intersects and by following this south a couple of hundred yards we gently sloped down to the edge of this beautiful little pond. It was actually larger than I expected, 20-25 acres if I had to guess. We had lunch there and soaked up what little warmth the sun offered.

Round Pond

I thought, "Bright sun in a cloudless sky, perfect fall conditions, but lousy for photography with its harsh light and boring blue skies. I would like to return again with better light." Then I thought, "What, are you nuts? Take what you're given. Not too many more of these gems left in this year."

False Puffball Scleroderma aurantium

The trails were very wet. Standing water where it was flat and running water where it was sloped. The ledges were wet and slippery. Leaves were everywhere making the entire trail slippery, even where they had managed to dry off. We came across many streams cascading where in dry stretches I'm sure there are usually none. The climb back up to the height of land on the Piper Mountain Link Trail was particularly wet and soggy. My guess is at this writing the trails had completely dried out only to be flooded again by today's rain.

Gallery here: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/piper102509/10121673_eTJHn#695567806_SziWm)


Snow Miser
10-28-2009, 08:36 PM
Very nice photos and TR! Round Pond looks like a nice place. We have been getting alot of rain this fall, and it certainly puts a damper on weekend hiking. Hmmm, but maybe that will mean alot of snow when it gets colder.:)

10-28-2009, 10:08 PM
I have hiked in the Belknaps a couple of times. There is something about the vegetation there that I really like, though it's nothing that would excite anyone not interested in plants. There is a lot of a groundcover juniper that makes a kind of Japanese garden in the open spaces. And the views to Winnepesaukee are just beautiful. It is definitely worth a visit. Good cross-country skiing in the winter, too.

10-29-2009, 06:46 AM
Great trip report and pictures. Looks like you guys had a great day for a hike. Thanks for sharing.

10-29-2009, 08:15 AM
Great that you got the lake views this time! The Belknaps are a really nice little range. Round Pond was definitely a good addition. And is it really ever a bad day for photography in the mountains? There are always some gems waiting to be found...

Anna LeBlanc
10-29-2009, 08:18 AM
Really enjoyed your pictures Kevin.We've hiked up in that area and there are some great views for not much effort.I have a question tho;where's Emma's picture?Nigel was looking for her:)

Thanks for taking us along.


Snow Miser
10-29-2009, 10:29 AM
We always look forward to at least one photo of Emma.:)

KD Talbot
10-29-2009, 11:05 AM
From the gallery:



Anna LeBlanc
10-29-2009, 01:27 PM
From the gallery:



Nigel's extremely happy to see his little friend Emma:D

Thank you Kevin!!!


10-29-2009, 05:55 PM
Wow... now we *have* to go back so we can see the Lake like that. Congratulations on a beautiful hike! Don't worry about whether it's a perfect photo day or not - live in the moment!