Saturday, June 9, 2012

Belknap Mountain and Fire Tower

This morning we decided to hike Belknap Mountain to the fire tower.  The trail is located in Gilford, on Carriage Road off of Belknap Mountain Road. Trail map and information can be found here.   For this hike you drive part way up the mountain to a parking lot.  From there  we climbed 740 feet up to the summit of 2400 feet.   Just left of a garage, at the trailhead, is an amazing vista my two loved!

Pre-hike excitement, they were ready to hit the trail.

After reading reviews of the hike we decide to do a loop.  We would take the blue trail up to the tower and then the red trail back down to the car.  The blue trail was a bit longer, both just under a mile, but was supposed to be not as steep or rough.

Let's just say doing this hike after a week of rain and a night of torrential downpours was probably not the best idea I've ever had.  The trail is rutted and rocky with loads of tree roots.  There were very few places where it was level easy walking.  The large rocks that covered the trail, some with loads of moss growing on them, were slippery...very slippery.  There were several little "brooks" running across the trail.  These were perfect for washing our dirty hands, from falling!

Even though it was rocky, some places with steep rock stairs Sassy Sis was determined to keep walking.  She may be pretty in pink, but man is she tough!

She lasted about 3/4 of the way up the blue trail, but ended up in our trusty Ergo partly because she was getting tired and partly because at the rate she was walking we wouldn't make it the summit until the 4th of July.

The Owl on the other hand completed the whole hike on his own.  He ended up with some scrapes, scratches, wet shorts, and a cut on his finger that required a band-aid, but he did it and boy was he proud!

Almost to the top of the tower there was a great vista view. 

And then there was the tower.....

Once we reached the summit, the fire tower was looming over head.  The Owl was excited to reach the fire tower, but sad that it wasn't manned today. We did climb up the tower to the observation deck.  It was VERY windy up there and I'm not a huge fan of heights.  The Owl wasn't overly impressed either, especially when the wind roared in in huge gusts.

After spending some time exploring the summit and having a little break we headed down the red trail.  Although the red trial was a bit shorter going down it was much steeper and really slippery.  We made our way down slowly.

We all slipped and fell, even my DH, who luckily was able to quickly recover since he had Sassy Sis on his back.  I am VERY glad we didn't opt for the red trail up, as it would have been too much of a challenge for my little two.

Overall, it was the most difficult hike we did to date with the Owl and Sassy Sis, but we completed it with everyone in one piece and still smiling.  It took us 2.5 hours from car to car.  Next time we'll have to try it after a dry spell and when we know that the fire tower will be open.

Happy Trails

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