View Full Version : Straightback/Quarry in the Belknaps 5/1/10

KD Talbot
05-06-2010, 12:23 PM
Washington from Straightback

On Saturday, fears of re-injuring Emma's bad leg kept us off the rotten snow further north. Instead, we stuck to the Belknaps where the blackflies are becoming increasingly annoying. We started our journey in bright sunshine when we left Kingston, but as we approached Alton a cloud bank took over and we made the hike in shaded comfort. Despite many trips into the Belknaps, we have yet to do much hiking between Round Pond and Straightback Mountain, so this was our target. We started out from Jesus Valley Road and followed the snowmobile trails around the mountain to the old tractor road which leads to the top. There is a more direct trail, but it eluded us on the way up, but which we followed on the way back down.

Common Strawberry Fragaria virginiana

We love this summit because of it's stark contrast to the crowded summit of Mount Major. It doesn't provide views as nice towards Winnepesaukee, but it does have good views in the other directions, and it's peaceful and quiet. The summit was covered in new blueberry blossoms and the Shadbush was in all its glory, as well as the blackflies. We headed out north along the ridge towards the higher summits of Belknap and Gunstock. To the northeast we could see the sun glinting on the summit of Mount Washington, shining like a diamond in the crown of surrounding mountains.

Cloudbank over Alton Bay

We were limited by some time constraints as well this day, so we only ventured as far as East Quarry, taking the route over North Sraightback to get there. There has been a lot of logging in the area and the trail was not always apparent. Besides the blazes there was tape in the trees at most confusing areas that crossed clearcut forest. It always looks like such a mess until it begins to recover, but it does open up the landscape and allow things to grow that otherwise might not and provides a more diverse habitat for the creatures that dwell in these hills.

Emma on Straightback

We stopped in one such clearcut that provided a great view across the "Big Lake" to the Ossipees and beyond to Mount Washington. We had some lunch and cursed the blackflies between bites. After lunch we made a hasty retreat back to Straightback where we made the descent along the steep Mount Straightback Trail. There is a little confusion at the bottom as the trail leads onto someone's property, but there appears to be no objection to using this route. It was another good hike considering our time limits and gave Emma another week to build up strength in her bad leg.

Complete set of pictures here (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/StraightbackQuarry-5110/12030211_4WG6N#853559860_hbJqZ):


05-10-2010, 09:34 PM
Nice pictures and trail report. It's nice that the snow makes Washington easy to pick out in the distance. Thanks for sharing.

Snow Miser
05-11-2010, 07:43 AM
Nice TR and photos. Glad to hear Emma is building up strength in her leg. Thanks for sharing.:)

Anna LeBlanc
05-11-2010, 09:12 PM
Enjoyed the TR and photos very much Kevin.Looks like Emma is doing great and will soon be back up to speed.