Monday, August 29, 2016

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


4 comments:

  1. A clarification on the naming, as it can be somewhat confusing! The entire mountain mass is known as Cherry Mountain, and Mt. Martha and Owl's Head are the two named summits.

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    Replies
    1. Ken,

      Thanks for the clarification. I've updated the writing accordingly. On a secondary note, I noticed you were on Garfield Ridge recently. I regret not capitalizing on the opportunity to stop at Garfield Pond. Your pics were great!

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