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1/19/03
Trip to Mount Major 1786’ and
Straightback Mountain 1840'

5 Miles 1200’ Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Returning to an old favorite, Mount Major in Alton Bay is only about 60 miles from our home in Kingston. Better trail markers over the last few years has allowed us to do some variations on the hikes which can be made on this small mountain. Climbing by the usual trail from the parking lot, which is much like hiking a road until it turns left and becomes more trail like about a mile in, we rise quickly to the trail junction. Here we stay straight ahead on the Brook Trail, rather than turning and climbing the main trail to the summit. The Brook Trail stays wide until it starts to rise, about a half a mile from the trail junction we had just left behind us. It soon becomes steep and rises through a hardwood forest. At the top of the rise the trail turns east and comes to an open ledge where there are the first views back toward Lake Winnepesaukee. Just before this ledge there is another trail junction where the trail to Mount Straightback turns southwest and rises to this flat top mountain. There are good views from here of the Belknap Range, which runs northwest. Mount Anna, Belknap Mountain and Gunstock can be seen from here. To the northeast Mount Major is prominent and beyond this is Winnepesaukee with the Ossipee Range rising above. This day the skies are beautiful and a huge snow squall screams down from the north and swallows the lake before our eyes. From Straightback we make our way back along the same trail, rejoining the Brook Trail and continuing the climb to the summit of Mount Major. This might have been our first hike with our new snowshoes. Handy things! It wasn't as cold this day and we stuck around for some snacks and to enjoy the views, then reluctantly made the trek down to the car with the usual regrets that all hikes have to come to an end.

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