It’s like a right of passage to hike Mt. Major while you’re at UNH. Not sure why, but everyone seems to do it at least once in their time at the state university. However, I’ve never done it before! Until yesterday that is.
I woke up early in an attempt to get there before the crowds. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve seen pictures of the Mt. Major parking lot full of cars, then miles of cars parked on either side of the highway. I didn’t want to run into that. So, I arrived at around 7:30am with the parking lot about 1/4 full. I glanced around from my car to locate the trail head and saw an opening in the trees and a wooden bridge just beyond that. To my left a little bit is a sign set back from the asphalt a ways in an area that looked like it was overgrown. As I’m debating where to enter, I see an older woman booking it to the trail with the bridge. Naturally, I figure that’s the trail to take. So I slather on some sunscreen and bug spray and follow suit.
Not even 1 minute into the trail I’m faced with a rocky, steep pathway. I figured, it’s hiking, there will be rocks and such. About 3 minutes in, I’m panting like I’ve never panted before. I’m sweating, I’m starting to get dizzy…but I carry on because I ain’t no wimp. As I progress up the trail, it just gets steeper and steeper. At one point, it was a full on rock climb but luckily I noticed a less aggressive path just to the side of the trail and took that. The last 1/2 mi I was dyin. I kept having to stop and collect myself because the last thing I wanted was for Fish and Game to have to come rescue me. The last 1/4 mi or so wasn’t bad although as you get up to the top, the blazes are harder to find.
FINALLY I made it to the summit. Took a little less than hour. I found a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the expansive, panoramic view:
After I refueled on some snacks and water, I decided to make my way back down. I wasn’t sure how to get back so I followed this family who were also heading back. The descent wasn’t bad except my legs were so tired from the ascent, I was ready to be back in my car. Only the first 1/4 mi or so was tricky. The rest was shady, cool and pretty easy. I passed a few families of people but for the amount of cars in the parking lot, there really weren’t a ton of people that I encountered.
Overall: I would do this hike again but I’d make sure to take the blue trail up. If you go, the trail head is hidden behind some trees and growth! I’d also bring more water. I was roastin’ and trying to ration out my water. Make sure you have a map with you too, as I found it hard to find trail markers and certain points.