Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mt Martha & Owlshead Cliffs - Not "The" Owl's Head

This was day two of our five day hiking vacation.  Today, on my 60th birthday, we hiked the Cherry Mountain Trail to the summit of Mt Martha.  After enjoying the great but limited views from the summit, we took the Martha's Mile trail to the Owlshead Cliffs.  No, this is not the infamous Owl's Head Mountain that those seeking to complete the 48 4k's need to accomplish.  It is however a small open ledge with 180 degree views ranging from the Presidential Range to Lancaster, NH.  Don't hike Mt Martha without also taking in the Owlshead Cliffs.  It is the views from the cliffs which make this hike worthwhile.

The trail leaves a larger than normal parking area along Rte 115.  Watch for the parking area closely as the signage on one side of the road is missing.  We had way more parking available than we needed as we did not see another person for the entire hike.  Peaceful for sure.

This hike was a 5.4 mile in and out with 2,470' of elevation gain including the descent to Owlshead and return back up to Mt Martha.  So, though it is a short hike there is enough climbing to get your heart a'pumping.

 Celebrating my 60th birthday.  We've completed 1.7 miles and we will reach Mt Martha in another .2 mile.  From here to the summit the trail is actually a snowmobile trail in the winter months.

Had to take a selfie to get a shot of us both as there was not another human being to be found all day.

The limited but still impressive views from the summit of Mt Martha.  The Presidentials are in the background.

This is the last segment of the Martha's Mile trail just before we reach the Owlshead Cliffs.

The next couple of shots are from the cliffs.  It was beautiful for sure.

Looking back at Mt Martha from the cliffs.

There appears to have been some recent surveying of this area and this marker shows the boundary of the White Mountain National Forest.

The surveyors determining this boundary had to work very hard.  Here they've cut a swath through the woods on a steep section in order to gain a line of sight for their surveying instruments.  I would imagine this is not an easy job!

 As we descend, the last mile or so of the trail follows an area where the trees have been harvested in recent years.  That allowed the afternoon sun to cascade onto the trail.

Certainly I would recommend this short but interesting hike.  You'll find it on the 52 with a view list.


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