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Thread: 4/3 Mt Major/Straightback...what a day!!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    4/3 Mt Major/Straightback...what a day!!!

    If anyone knows anything about hiking in the Lakes region, they will know that the short hike up to Mt Major awards some of the best views of lake Winnipausakee and surrounding mtns that one can find. Saturday I took on this mountain with a friend of mine (oh, and 100 of my closest hiking friends.....there were waaay too many people on the trail).

    I tell ya, that trail took me by surprise. It doesn't waste any time climbing. The weather was fantastic: Totally sunny, not a cloud in the sky, temps were in the 70s and near 80 degrees at the bottom, and low 70s with a nice stiff wind at the summits. This helped you to forget how badly you were getting sunburned!

    Pics

    This couple was holding hands, and I wanted to get a shot, but they let go last second. bummer


    heading up the steep trail, already views


    leftover snow!


    Now at the top...def hazy, and tough to take pics with totally blue sky. the view was still top notch






    This dog ate half of my lunch!


    Wanted to get a good shot of MWN, but it was tough. So this is my best attempt...meh





    trail we took up


    LOTS of summit clutter today

    continued in a min

  2. #2
    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    From there, we took a trip over to a low peak named Straightback Mtn. I had never been here before, so I was looking foward to th jaunt. The trail was pretty narrow and occasionally in rough shape, There was a tiny col near the summit, with leftover snow, and temps only in the low 50s. It felt great! But, up on the summit....







    flat, open summit area




    Alton Bay


    It was a beautiful hike, and it was nice to get out on th warmest day of the year thus far. It was even warm in the woods. Actually, I normally don't hike with temps in the low 80s, but the humidity was low enough to warrant comfortable conditions. Hope you enjoy!!

    grouseking

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    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Ok, you've talked me into it. I'll be down there sometime this spring. From the looks of the crowd it looks like an early start is called for.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

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    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed'n Lauky View Post
    Ok, you've talked me into it. I'll be down there sometime this spring. From the looks of the crowd it looks like an early start is called for.
    Well, either an early start, or a late start. I was told that the cars were lined up along Rt 11 as early as 7:30am! We got there fairly late...around 10:45 so yeah, there were crowds, but I expected it. What you need to do is head over to Mt Straightback or maybe further. When we arrived there, we saw 3 other people, and then after 20 min or so, they left. It was amazing how Mt Major had 70+ people, and just 3/4 mile away, there was no one.

    grouseking

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    Senior Member bryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed'n Lauky View Post
    Ok, you've talked me into it. I'll be down there sometime this spring. From the looks of the crowd it looks like an early start is called for.
    or hit it on a weekday. i've had the summit of major to myself midweek. on a beautiful holiday weekend like this the hike from your car to the trailhead may be longer than that from the trailhead to the summit....
    love that hike out to straightback from major. a great half day trip (as are many destinations in the belknaps). hope to hit this one soon myself.
    thanks for posting the pictures.

    bryan
    "i lifted one foot to cross the other and i felt myself slipping, it was a small mistake, sometimes that's all it takes." - bright eyes

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    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan View Post
    or hit it on a weekday. i've had the summit of major to myself midweek. on a beautiful holiday weekend like this the hike from your car to the trailhead may be longer than that from the trailhead to the summit....
    love that hike out to straightback from major. a great half day trip (as are many destinations in the belknaps). hope to hit this one soon myself.
    thanks for posting the pictures.

    bryan
    Good point. A weekday is def better, if you can get a day off.

    Thanks!

    grouseking

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    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    The next time you go there, try the Boulder Trail out of the parking lot (leaves from the left when you are looking towards the main trail most everyone uses). It's not quite so congested and has lots of interesting boulders (thus its name). Thanks for your report and photos. I wasn't able to get out this weekend and your write-up helped me feel a little better.
    Last edited by erugs; 04-05-2010 at 02:43 PM.
    Ellen

    Volunteer Maintainer: East Pond Trail

    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

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    Member Christa's Avatar
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    Yeah Major vs Straightback are two completely different ballgames in terms of crowds. While the summit of Major will very frequently be crammed with people on a nice day, very few people will make the trek a short mile or so over to Straightback, but it's worth the trip if you want some space. Significantly fewer people and still some nice views.

    If you go another mile or so down the trail from Straightback, you'll come to Mount Anna and just past that (unmarked) summit are some wonderful ledges to hang out and have some lunch at. Even fewer people go out as far as Anna than go to Straightback. Total Round Trip from the parking lot to Anna and back can be anywhere between 6.5 and about 9 miles or so, depending on which way you go (whether you go over Major or not, for example), so it's a fairly easy day hike.

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    Senior Member KRobi's Avatar
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    Having hiked all the Belknaps (have the nifty patch to show for it) many times, these are fun little mtns to climb. Major is definitely the most congested and Belknap (tallest in the range) can be, but the others are usually free of other hikers. Mack and Klem by way of Round pond is a great hike in the summer. The Quarry mtns (right turn off the Major/Straightback link) are interesting. The descent is steep (old quarries) and there is the some of the old hardware laying around. Cool stuff (if you like the old history of the region).
    Probably shouldn't sing their praises as this will only increase the crowds.

  10. #10
    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erugs View Post
    The next time you go there, try the Boulder Trail out of the parking lot (leaves from the left when you are looking towards the main trail most everyone uses). It's not quite so congested and has lots of interesting boulders (thus its name). Thanks for your report and photos. I wasn't able to get out this weekend and your write-up helped me feel a little better.
    I may do that! It sounds like it would have been a more scenic trip up...the trail we took, especially the lower part, reminded me a little of the beginning of the Tuckerman ravine highway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christa View Post
    Yeah Major vs Straightback are two completely different ballgames in terms of crowds. While the summit of Major will very frequently be crammed with people on a nice day, very few people will make the trek a short mile or so over to Straightback, but it's worth the trip if you want some space. Significantly fewer people and still some nice views.

    If you go another mile or so down the trail from Straightback, you'll come to Mount Anna and just past that (unmarked) summit are some wonderful ledges to hang out and have some lunch at. Even fewer people go out as far as Anna than go to Straightback. Total Round Trip from the parking lot to Anna and back can be anywhere between 6.5 and about 9 miles or so, depending on which way you go (whether you go over Major or not, for example), so it's a fairly easy day hike.
    Major is def crammed, but for good reason! We almost went a little further, but my knee would not allow it. Someday I'd like to do the whole trip from Belknap to Major, but I definitely need a guide, because I wouldn't want to get lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by KRobi View Post
    Having hiked all the Belknaps (have the nifty patch to show for it) many times, these are fun little mtns to climb. Major is definitely the most congested and Belknap (tallest in the range) can be, but the others are usually free of other hikers. Mack and Klem by way of Round pond is a great hike in the summer. The Quarry mtns (right turn off the Major/Straightback link) are interesting. The descent is steep (old quarries) and there is the some of the old hardware laying around. Cool stuff (if you like the old history of the region).
    Probably shouldn't sing their praises as this will only increase the crowds.
    I'm most curious about Round Pond, since I love hiking to bodies of water. Also, when we came across the Quarry Trail, we assumed that it was a dead end trail, and went the other way. Little did we know...next time!!

    Is the pond only accessible by trail? If so, it becomes more interesting to me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    I haven't been beyond Major/Straightback yet, but want to go to all of those peaks someday, too.
    Ellen

    Volunteer Maintainer: East Pond Trail

    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

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