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Mount Clay

At: New Hampshire, United States
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About: Mount Clay, or Mount Reagan, is a peak located in Thompson and Meserve's Purchase in Coos County in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is a rise about 0.9 mile long and a few hundred feet tall, with summit elevation of 5,533 feet; it lies on the ridge joining the summits of Mount Washington, about 0.9 mile south-southeast of its own summit, with that of Mount Jefferson, about 1.3 mile north. The Appalachian Trail, coinciding there with the Gulfside Trail, rises about a hundred feet approaching it northbound, and passes 0.1 mile from the summit, 200 feet below it. The 1.2 mile Mt. Clay Loop passes over the summit. The Jewell Trail is a popular choice as a relatively less strenuous route to Mt. Washington's summit; hikers ascending it, eastbound, from the vicinity of the cog rail base station join the Gulfside Trail about 0.4 mile from Clay's summit and about 200 feet below, and give up about 100 feet in descending the southern tail of Clay, before resuming the ascent of Washington. The name "Mount Clay" refers to Henry Clay, and "Mount Reagan" to Ronald Reagan. In 2003, the state legislature, participating in a Reagan Legacy project, made it state law that Mt. Clay "shall hereafter be called and known as Mount Reagan." The legal force of this is limited to actions by the state of New Hampshire, and (among other criteria) policy of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) precludes its considering commemorative names for geographic features for five years following the person's death, in this case until at least June of 2009. Maps used in connection with foot travel in the Presidentials are typically published by the U.S. Geological Survey (which adheres by law to BGN's naming), and by the Appalachian Mountain Club and two New England companies, all three of whom use "Clay" and make no mention of "Reagan". Although well over 4,000 feet in height above sea level, the Appalachian Mountain Club does not consider Mount Clay a "four-thousand footer" because it stands less than 200 feet above the col on the ridge from Washington, making it a secondary summit of that peak.


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