Monday, August 29, 2016

Middle Sugarloaf (2539 Ft), North Sugarloaf (2310 Ft)

North Sugarloaf from Middle
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Twin Mountain
DESTINATION: Middle Sugarloaf, North Sugarloaf
ELEVATION: 2539 Ft., 2310 Ft.
Middle Sugarloaf SUMMIT COORDINATES: 44 15.089, W71 31.036
North Sugarloaf SUMMIT COORDINATES: 44 15.509, W71 31.105
TRAIL: Mt. Sugarloaf Trail, Middle Sugarloaf spur, North Sugarloaf spur
DISTANCE: 3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 820 Ft
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 27, 2016
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 85 degrees

PARKING:

From route 302 in Twin Mountain look for Zealand campground. Follow Zealand road 1 mile to a parking area on the right. The trailhead is just across the wooden bridge. The Sugarloaf's are a popular hike and the lot fills up quickly. Overflow roadside parking is available on Zealand road. A $3.00 self service parking fee applies.

Drive time from Manchester is approximately 90 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Twin Mountain Quad

MAP: (Middle Sugarloaf), (North Sugarloaf)




DESCRIPTION:

The Mt. Sugarloaf trail enters the woods after crossing the wooden bridge over the Zealand river. The Mt. Sugarloaf trail and Tressle trail parallel the Zealand River for a few hundred yards to a trail junction where the Tressle trail continues straight and the Mt. Sugarloaf trail bears to the left. The well trodden trail is extremely easy to follow as it passes several large glacial erratic boulders. The incline steepens over rocky steps for 0.9 mile to a T junction in the col between the two peaks. Middle Sugarloaf is 0.4 to the left (south) and North Sugarloaf is 0.3 to the right (north). The 0.4 miles to Middle Sugarloaf begins softly following a zigzag pattern before becoming very steep. A wooden staircase leads you up the final pitch to the open faced granite summit of Middle Sugarloaf which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. South Sugarloaf and Hale are directly to the south. Mt Washington and the Southern Presidential range are directly to the east and North Sugarloaf can be seen to the north.

After absorbing the views return the way you came 0.4 miles to the T junction. North Sugarloaf is a gradual climb 0.3 miles to it's granite summit. North sugarloaf has great directional views that seem weak in comparison to Middle Sugarloaf. Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Mt. Sugarloaf Trail - T junction 0.9 miles 0.9 miles
T junction - Middle Sugarloaf 0.4 miles 1.3 miles
Middle Sugarloaf- T junction 0.4 miles 1.7 miles
T junction - North Sugarloaf 0.3 miles 2.0 miles
North Sugarloaf- T junction 0.3 miles 2.3 miles
T junction - Parking 0.9 miles 3.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Mt. Sugarloaf Trail - T junction 30 minutes 30 minutes
T junction - Middle Sugarloaf 15 minutes 45 minutes
Middle Sugarloaf- T junction 10 minutes 55 minutes
T junction - North Sugarloaf 10 minutes 1 hour 5 minutes
North Sugarloaf- T junction 7 minutes 1 hour 12 minutes
T junction - Parking 18 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 2359 feet, Middle Sugarloaf isn't tall enough to be on any elevation lists and the 1.3 mile journey to it's peak isn't long enough to consider this a solo hike. The open granite slabs on the summit make the views one of the best in the white mountains and Middle Sugarloaf has been placed at #51 on the New Hampshire 52 with a View list. North Sugarloaf is a short and rewarding side trip allowing for two mountain checks on a single hike. I wasn't able to find a distinct bump or any markings defining the North Sugarloaf summit. I suspect the high point is the bump the trail passes just beyond the open ledges and lunch table sized boulder.

Trail junction and spur paths
Stairs leading to Middle Sugarloaf


South Sugarloaf and Mt. Hale

The Rosebrook Range (Bretton Woods)

Mt. Martha (3554 Ft) and Owl's Head (Cherry Mtn)

Mt. Martha from Owl's Head
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Carroll
DESTINATION: Owl's Head, Mt. Martha
ELEVATION: 3554 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 19.842, W71 29.963
TRAIL: Owl's Head Trail, Martha's Mile
DISTANCE: 6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2300 Feet
HIKING TIME: 2.5 Hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 27, 2016
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 80 degrees

PARKING: 

Mt. Martha can be accessed from the south via the Cherry Mountain trail or the north via the Owl's Head trail. Parking for the Owl's Head trail is available on US-115 at the Stanley Slide historical marker. The lot will fit 15-20 cars.

Drive time is approximately 2 hours from Manchester.

USGS QUAD:  USGS Mt. Dartmouth Quad

MAP: (Mt. Martha)




DESCRIPTION:

Owl's Head, Mt. Martha and Cherry Mountain are referenced in many resources and variety of top maps available.  The entire mountain mass is considered Cherry Mountain and the two main summits are considered Mt. Martha and Owl's Head. The Owl's Head Trail departs the northern side of the parking lot under a pair of apple trees crosses Stanley Slide Brook then merges with a woods road. The trail takes a sharp left (straight leads to private property) passes a dilapidated camper and heads into the woods in a northerly direction to skirt private property.  The damp, moss covered and rocky terrain offers a gentile grade for approximately one mile to a crossing of Stanley Slide brook.  The trail inclines steeply to a former logging road crossing a grassy road shown as John Walker Rd on Google Earth and begins a seemingly relentless steep climb leaving you breathless and drenched in sweat. At 2450 ft you'll reach a USFS boundary marker where you'll enter the White Mountain National Forest. This is also the town boundary leaving the town of Jefferson entering Carroll giving a small bit of excitement and the knowledge that 0.3 miles of brutally steep ascent remains.

Owl's Head offers amazing views of the Northern Presidential range.  Martha's Mile is a 0.8 mile trail linking Owl's Head to Mt. Martha and drops steeply. The start of this trail is the most technically difficult aspect of the journey. Continue north on the a moderate incline through fern filled woods. A steep final pitch leads to the summit of Mt. Martha. The summit is relatively open with a grassy area and fire ring. Exploring the several spur paths lead to outlooks in various directions.  Four cement blocks are all that remains of an old fire tower that once stood.

TRAIL DISTANCES:


HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Owl's Head summit 2.4 miles 2.4 miles
Owl's Head summit - Mt. Martha 0.8 miles 3.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:


HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Stanley Slide Brook Crossing 20 minutes 20 minutes
Stanley Slide Brook Crossing - Carroll Town boundary 35 minutes 55 minutes
Carroll Town boundary - Owl's Head summit 15 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Owl's Head summit - Mt. Martha 20 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Mt. Martha - Owl's Head 20 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
Owl's Head summit - parking 45 minutes 2 hour 35 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:


"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition." - Martha Washington
I've been list obsessed with summit fever causing a lack of motivation or desire to enjoy what brings me back to the mountains. Today's hike was about the journey, not the destination and kindling the desire to be one with nature. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure from start to finish.

Mt. Martha is on several lists including the NH hundred highest, ranked #22 on the NH most prominent peaks and is a former fire tower site.  Owl's Head Mountain is on the NH 52 With a View list.  Neither summit has any markings however both are obvious once you arrive. Both summits contain extraordinary views.

Mt. Madison, Jefferson and Washington from Cherry Mtn.

The Mt. Martha summit

Remains of the former fire tower

Directional views from an outlook on Mt. Martha


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Britton Hill - 345 Ft. Florida High Point

STATE: Florida
TOWN: Lakewood
DESTINATION: Britton Hill
ELEVATION: 345 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N30 59.172, W86 16.892
DISTANCE: 1.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 10 feet
HIKING TIME: 5 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 9, 2016
WEATHER: Hot and humid



PARKING:

Britton Hill is located in Lakewood Park off County Highway 285. There is a pavilion with several picnic tables and a restroom facility within the park along with the granite highpoint marker and some short hiking trails.


USGS QUAD: USGS Paxton Quad

MAP: (Britton Hill)



DESCRIPTION:

At 345 Feet Britton Hill is the highest point in the state of Florida. It is located on the Florida panhandle near the Alabama border. It is the lowest high point of all fifty US states. The high point monument is 50 feet from the parking lot however there are three hiking trails behind the monument. a blue 0.45 mile loop, a yellow 0.52 mile loop and a red 0.71 mile loop. Following the trail behind the marker for approximately 0.25 to 0.3 miles will lead you to a bench sponsored by highpointers.org. Note that there are a couple benches at the trail junctions however the highpointer sponsored bench should be considered the benchmark. There isn't a definitive peak here and the purist in me wandered the woods like a drunk bee searching for a distinct point. There are locations that are definitely higher than the monument and some that appear higher than the bench but nothing I could truly define as the HP. Lots of big ol' spiders. There is a log mounted on the restroom kiosk to the left of the men's door.


NOTES / COMMENTS:

We were on a family vacation in Destin and I took a break from the beaches and excursions to make the hour drive to the HP for my 9th U.S. highpoint. The first (and probably only) high point I'll visit in flip flops.

Lakewood Park sign

Granite Monument

View from high point marker