Belknap County Highpoint Trip Report

Belknap Mtn (2,382 ft)

Date: May 13, 2006
Author: Chris Gilsdorf

My father came to visit over the weekend and our original plan was to climb Nottingham, Copple Crown, and Belknap Mountain, in that order. After learning that the gate to Belknap's approach road closed at 6, we reversed the order. However, Mother Nature, mankind, and just general bad luck conspired against us to limit our day's expeditions to Belknap County alone.

First was the rain. I don't mean a light sprinkle or even sporadic showers: this was RAIN (as of this writing, it's projected to rain nonstop for at least the next ten days straight). Next, the fact that my father and I were both sleep-deprived, never a good thing to be, especially on a hike. This led us to a later start than we had planned and additional construction delays and bad traffic resulted in our drive from Hanover lasting around two hours (previous directions to the trailhead are accurate). The icing on the cake, though, came when we turned onto the carriage road, only to find the gate locked.

Now looking forward to a hike more than doubled from the original (in the rain, I remind you), we began trekking up the road. Within ten minutes, we were soaked to the bone. After following the sinuous road for about a mile, we encountered the White Trail to our right (before the parking area), which we had planned to utilize for our ascent and descent. The trail climbed at a mild pace and was surprisingly mud-free, though there was still a lot of water running along the trail. Footing was firm, even on the rock slabs. After entering the clouds, passing numerous false summits, and a growing realization that the White Trail was longer than posted, we finally reached the summit. By this time thoroughly soaked many times over, we quickly stepped on the highest summit rocks and opted to take the quick way down -- the Green Trail.

The rocks were indeed comparatively slippery but not unusually bad. We took advantage of several brief trail relocations blazed with orange tree ribbons that bypassed the larger and steeper slabs of rock. At last returning to the road, we paused at the Ranger cabin, which listed the trails and their lengths. The Green Trail is 0.8 mile each way, the White Trail is 1.1, and the other two fell in between these values, though I can't remember the order. I wryly noted that it listed the Green Trail as "not recommended for descent". We made a hasty retreat down the road, jogging on the steeper sections, until we reached the car. By this point, neither of us felt like venturing out into the rain again and we returned to Hanover.

Hiking statistics: round-trip distance about 4 miles; elevation gain 1,250 feet; 1:05 up and 0:50 down.