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West Quarry and Rand, Belknap Range

Oh what the heck, I might as well finish something that I started. Last year, I completed the Belknap Range Traverse which left only 4 peaks. Last week, I did Piper/Whiteface so, yeah... Might as well. I started out on Glidden Rd/Old Clough Rd. This is about as exciting as heading up a ski trail to me. Lots of water though and that means MUD. Lots of long grass too which means ticks. I'm actually getting use to picking them off Isis. Thankfully none have imbedded (She is treated with Advantix).

It's not long before I hit the junction with the Quarry Trail. Isis chooses West Quarry first and we head down the trail to the Old Quarry site. I opted for the Dave Roberst Quarry Trail around the ledges to get to the summit. In my opinion, it's just as steep. The bugs are out in full force today too. It is not long before we arrive at my Belknap #11 West Quarry. After a quick rest and some water, I head back the way I came to the junction again to climb to Mt. Rand.

Two wooded summits today and an easy hike so far BUT, the trail up to Rand is a little more rugged. Lots of boulders to navigate. The sun is out in full force at this point stirring up the bugs all the more. I press on and we soon come to a flatter section, then into the woods again for another quick up and Isis and I arrive at the summit of Belknap #12, Mt. Rand. I stayed only long enough for a quick water break and a picture. The bugs are fierce now. A quick spray of Ben's 30% and we head back the way we came. Again, the road back to the car is about as exciting as descending a ski trail, more ticks, and more mud. The Belknap 12 are done!

A quick Note about Glidden Rd/Old Clough Rd, if you have a low clearance car, stop when the pavement stops and take the walk... I probably should have but thankfully, my Ford Focus seems OK.

I had zero intentions of chasing another list. Last year when I did the traverse of the Belknap Range Trail, it was purely to see if I could... The last 4 just fell into place as I have been holding back from The Whites. For one thing, there's still snow up there. For another thing, it's Memorial Day Weekend and EVERYONE is there. And for a final thing, I have bigger goals in site. The Whites are great but I've come to a point where I want to see more. The Whites are also way over crowded and the trails are becoming eroded and in need of some serious TLC. I saw only two others today and it was HEAVEN.

So, here I am down to days left before I set out to complete another goal... The last 65 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont. It's been a long time coming after becoming ill last year. I'll admit that it was the arthritis that pulled me off the trail (although, I did not know it at the time). One more Dr's appointment to hopefully clear me to go on Tuesday. Not that I'm going to let it stop me. I will however listen to what my Dr has to say about the stress I'll put on my body and come up with a plan. I know this hike will not be pain free. These smaller hikes have been a good warm up to understanding how I function on trail all over again. I know it's not a Thru Hike on the LT but, I'll still go end to end and that's been my goal all along. I'll never break any speed records and that's OK too. Sometimes the turtles win. I'll spend this week in final prep mode. I'll probably unpack the already packed pack just one more time to make sure I have everything. The weather looks good with no real torrential storms (maybe a few showers). I am really looking forward to this final trip (a sure sign I am feeling better). From here, we'll see where I go next... I have a few ideas but I'll save those for after I get to Canada.

Hiker's Hike!

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