W Quarry and Rand #11 and 12 of the Belknaps

I was not looking forward to today’s hike.  West Quarry and Rand are both tree covered summits.  The trails in and out didn’t look that appealing, and are “reviewed” pretty poorly on AllTrails.  Most comments say things like “don’t bother, unless you’re doing the Belknap 12”.  Add to that a “rocky scramble” and the dreaded L word, ledges, and I was really not looking forward to today’s hike.

Lucky for me, Rainbow texted me the day before I planned to go and asked if she could join me!  Our two cars were the only cars at the trail head at 8:30 and here we are at the start (the first part of the trail is a gravel road).  I promise we were physically distanced though it doesn’t appear that way in the photo.


Reed Road Trail ascends up to the Quarry Trail.  Reed Road trail is narrow and overgrown on many parts, and it ascends quickly.  However, once you get up to Quarry Trail, it’s quite nice.  It meanders along a semi-ridge, peacefully through the woods.

Knowing that West Quarry was a wooded summit, my spidey sense tingled and I stopped and wondered aloud if we were near the summit.  Rainbow laughed as I was standing directly in front of this sign…


You’ll note I’m wearing my mask, we wore them the entire hike.  It was hot and humid and we both wore masks the entire hike.

We continued on from West Quarry towards Rand.  I had read that there were ledges and a bypass trail.  I planned on us descending off West Quarry via the bypass, and when we returned from Rand we would go up the ledges.  Ledges are a bit less scary up than down.  So we took the bypass.  Several mushroom sightings (and a toad) later, we were on Rand!


And just like that, I’d summited the 12 summits required for the Belknap Range patch!

After a brief break, we headed back the way we came.  Then it was time to tackle the ledges!


The view of a ledge, this is the trail.  Yikes.
Me crossing/ascending the ledge. Photo credit: Rainbow
View FROM the ledge, one of our only views of the day

It wasn’t too bad, and Rainbow assured me my scaredy cat ways are endearing.  Back to West Quarry, and down Reed Road Trail.  There were some lovely wildflowers along the way.

Rainbow and one of the only other views we had all day

One interesting note of the day, we never saw anyone else but us on the trail.  I can only think of maybe one other hike where I haven’t seen any other hikers.  It made me extra happy Rainbow was along with me.

Honestly, while the views weren’t spectacular, I did actually enjoy this hike.  The ledges were just enough to be interesting without totally terrifying me, and the range walk is really nice.  Good company always helps!  And I’m done with the summits for my patch!!

Hike stats –

Distance:  5.7 miles
Elevation gain: 1,490 feet
Total time: 5 hours, 22 minutes
Moving time: 4 hours, 21 minutes

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