October 23, 2016: Quarry Loop

Though I’m still working on my redlining of the Belknap range, as of today I’ve completed the 12 peaks needed for the Belknap Sportsmen’s Association hiking patch! Woohoo! Today’s 9-mile(ish) loop knocked the remaining five summits off of my list.

To get to the trailhead, I drove along route 11A past Gunstock, and took a right onto the dead-end Glidden Road. Where the pavement ended, I put the Jeep into 4WD and drove the extra 1/4 mile or so on Old Clough Road to the slightly widened area where a plastic pipe-covered wire blocks the path.

From here, I hiked up Old Clough Road approximately 3/4 mile to the junction with the Dave Roberts Quarry Trail. Taking a right onto the Quarry trail (blazed white), I headed over to the first summit of the day, Mt. Rand.

Next, I continued along on the Quarry trail to the Mt. Klem junction, where I met up with Cat and Ed, my hiking companions for the day. Cat and I took the short spur over to the summit of Mt. Klem (summit 2 for the day), then returned to the junction to continue on the hike with Ed.

Here, we followed the eastern half of the Klem-Mack Loop trail (blazed red and also part of the Belknap Range Trail) down to Mt. Mack (summit 3 for the day). We then headed east on the Mack-Anna trail (blazed red, still part of the BRT) over to the summit of Mt. Anna. I hiked up to Anna last weekend, but I needed to hike over there for redlining as well as pick up Straightback and West Quarry for the patch.

After Anna, we took a left onto the Anna-Straightback Link (blazed blue), still following the BRT as well. After reaching the junction with the east end of the Precipice Path and Dave Roberts Quarry trails, Cat and I continued a little further to reach the south summit of Straightback Mountain (summit 4 for the day), then backtracked to meet back up with Ed again on the Quarry Trail.

We followed the Quarry Trail north to the junction with the Quarry Spur trail, then continued on the Quarry Trail to the north summit of Straightback Mountain at the North Straightback Link junction (north Straightback isn’t needed for the patch).

Finishing the loop, we continued along the Quarry Trail to the summit of East Quarry Mountain (not needed for the patch), and finally to West Quarry Mountain (summit 5 for the day, and the final one I needed for the patch). From there, it was just about a half mile or so to return to the junction with Old Clough Road to head back to the car.

I had been tracking the hike with Map My Fitness, but turned it off about 3/4 of the way through the hike after noticing that my phone battery was down below 30% (I had started out fully charged). It seemed to have drained the battery faster than usual, but I never used the app on a hike this long before. Luckily, I had also started activity tracking on my fitness band at the beginning of the hike, so I just tracked time and distance with that instead. Next hike I think I’ll try tracking with the phone in airplane mode and see if it saves the battery (and if the GPS tracking still works that way).

Today’s hike, including the hike in and out on Old Clough Road, totaled a little over 9 miles in just under 5 hours. Not too shabby on pace! Cat is a faster hiker than me, and much more familiar with the trails – so I really appreciated the challenge of a faster pace. I had no problem keeping up; I usually end up going slower when I’m by myself due to stopping to take a ton of pictures, which I didn’t do as much on the last half of the hike due to my battery running low.

I’ve already filled out my application (and check) for the patch, and it will go in the mail tomorrow! Now I’m focused on finishing my redlining of the Belknap range. Today’s hike crossed off a good 10% more of the mileage, and I have less than 25% to finish.

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