I needed something more than just a little walk in the woods today, but nothing too long, since I was getting a late start and still had laundry and nacho prep to do at home this afternoon. So I drove over to the carriage road to hike Gunstock, then head over toward Belknap and back down the carriage road – with a backup plan to hike Mt. Rowe from the elementary school if there wasn’t enough parking available.
Luckily, parking wasn’t a problem – only a handful of cars there when I arrived. I quickly parked along the side of the road, put on my microspikes, and started on my way up the Gunstock Mountain (orange) trail from the carriage road.
Getting up Gunstock was quite a calf workout today. The snow was well packed down and there were some icy spots above the halfway point. It actually felt better sometimes to run up the trail on my toes for a few short bursts, and give my calves a break from constantly stretching out.
Once I arrived at the summit, it was quite busy with skiers getting off the quad-chair and heading down the slopes, so I stuck toward the back to take a couple pictures before continuing over to the Gunstock-Belknap saddle. Mt. Washington was visible today, and its snow-covered summit with bright sun shining on it gave it a bit of a ghostly look.
I returned to the trail, following the Brook trail (yellow), which was extremely icy in the usual spots, then took a right onto the Saddle trail (white) at the junction. I actually broke out into a run for the last half of this short, fairly level trail, until I reached the Belknap Mountain blue trail. Rather than hitting another summit, I took a right onto the trail to return to the carriage road.
Upon arriving back at the car and taking off my microspikes, I realized it might have been a good idea to wear my gaiters. The backs of my socks were covered with iceballs. I just brushed off what I could, and the rest melted off in the car on the short drive home.
Today’s hike amounted to 3.5 miles in a little over an hour and a half. Perfect for a quick jaunt on a Sunday.