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16 May 2011

Between the Rains: A Trek to Cherry Mountain

Throughout most of New England, and certainly here in northern New Hampshire, this third week of May has seen a lot of very wet weather! In between a rainy period I managed to work in a hike on 16-May to the peak named Mt. Martha which is located on Cherry Mountain.

From the outset, I knew there would be no views from the top of the mountain. En route to the trailhead, I stopped at a roadside pull-off along Route 115 to capture the image of the cloud-shrouded Pliny Range with Cherry Pond in the foreground. It was quite apparent that clouds were enveloping the tops of all the mountains in the vicinity of Cherry Mtn.
Since Cherry Mountain is less than a half-hour drive from my home in Bethlehem, I go there often. However, up until this hike, I had never climbed this mountain by starting at the trailhead on Cherry Mountain Road. One reason why I've never used this trailhead is that Mt. Martha is only 1.9 miles from the trailhead on Route 115, whereas it is 3.7 miles from the trailhead on Cherry Mountain Road. My route is highlighted on the map below (NOTE: Clicking on the map will slightly enlarge it.)
Shown below is the trailhead signboard on Cherry Mountain Rd. It is one of the new plastic signs that are now being used.
The treadway on this trail had mixed conditions. Some of it was dry, whereas other parts were wet and soggy. Shown below are snapshots of both types of conditions that were experienced.
At the higher elevations, there were lingering patches of snow both on the trail, and off the trail in the woods.
The trillium was in bloom, as shown below.
However, other flowering plants (like trout lily, spring beauty, hobble bush) were not in full blossom on the day of my hike.
Curiously, well off to the side of the trail, I saw two dead moose. One was a few tenths of a mile from the trailhead, and the other one was just a short distance from the junction high up on the ridge where the Cherry Mountain Trail comes in from the Route 115 trailhead.
At the top of Mt. Martha, I was in the cloud/mist, as I fully suspected I would be! There was nothing to be seen other than the footings for the old 40-ft fire tower that once stood at this location from about 1939 until the 1980s.
However, last year in 2010, I was at this same spot, except it was about one-week earlier. At that visit I had a terrific view as shown in the photo below that was taken last May.
There are a couple of other items that might be of some limited interest to a few readers. If you refer to the trail map shown at the top of this Blog, you'll see that the route is sort of "L" shaped. The abandoned Black Brook Trail once intersected the Cherry Mountain Trail at a point just a bit east from the sharp turn that forms the "L". It is not easy to spot, but if you look carefully you can still see a faint treadway (especially at this time of year). Also, a short distance back in the woods you can see what I presume to be the uprooted post that once held the signboard for the old trail. Below is a photo-collage which shows the post and the treadway of the abandoned Black Brook Trail.
I've never hiked the old Black Brook Trail at this upper terminus, but I have hiked a portion of it from its former trailhead which was located off Route 302 not far from the entrance to Zealand Road. Click HERE, if you have any interest in reading a Trip Report that I filed awhile ago regarding a hike from the lower end of the old Black Brook Trail.

There is one last item relative to Cherry Mountain that might be of some limited interest to a few readers. One of the ridgelines for this mountain has an area that is identified on many maps as "The Humps". It's nearly due east of Mt. Martha, and is shown on the map I posted at the top of this Blog. Click HERE, if you have any interest in reading a Trip Report that I filed awhile ago regarding a bushwhack that I did to "The Humps".

To sum it up, although there were no summit views on this particular day, it was still quite an enjoyable hike. Plus, it provided me with the opportunity to experience a trail that I'd never hiked.

Leaving a comment via this Blog is always appreciated. However, if you prefer to ask a question or make a comment via a personal E-mail, then you may contact me at: randonneur8 at yahoo dot com.


OPW5000 said...

Great report...glad you're still getting out in this dreary weather. Those two dead moose are quite strange...waiting to see my first live one myself.
Also, your picture of the vista from 2010 is fantastic! I like how you included your gear - to me, that is the epitome of hiking...the gear that got you there and the incredible views from the top.

1HappyHiker said...

Hey Owen . . . glad you liked the report. I agree, seeing two dead moose along the same trail was a bit strange! Hopefully they died from natural (versus human) causes.

Regarding the photo from my 2010 trek to Mt. Martha, as you likely know, a huge part of photography (at least for me) is purely dumb luck! It wasn’t until I got home and reviewed my photos that I noticed my pack was in the snapshot. My first reaction was . . . whoops, should’ve moved my pack out of the way! But then I thought . . . hmmm . . . that sort of adds something to the overall scene!


cooperhill said...

Dig this post. You add a lot to it with maps and old pictures.

Very nice trail signs. Wish I could get some new ones for my trail.

Was this a trailwork trip?

Cheers, Chris

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Chris . . . glad you like the maps and vintage photos. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a 1,000 words”! So, to save the reader from having to read more words (and to selfishly save myself from writing more words!), I try to incorporate things like maps into my Blog reports whenever I can.

Regarding the photo of the new trailhead sign that I posted . . . yes, that is nice, isn’t it?! It’s probably just a case of me not getting around much to the various trailheads, but that is the first of the new fangled plastic signs that I’ve seen.

You asked if this was a trailwork trip. Well, the hike had a dual purpose. As indicated in my Blog, I’d never hiked that particular trail-segment, and so I did it to experience something new. Secondarily, I was evaluating the trail for possible adoption. It passed the test, and so I’ve now added another “child” to my family of adopted trails! :/)


Karl said...

Wonderful post, John! I'm with Chris, love the maps and history. I think finding an old sign post in the woods is cooler than great views. Maybe that makes me strange! I also like how you added in the old fire tower photo. I may just steal that idea from you for future trip reports (hope you don't mind). The photo from last years trip is beautiful. Very nice, John!


1HappyHiker said...

Karl, thank you for your glowing comments about this post! I’m in complete agreement with your enthusiasm for finding things in the woods like old sign posts. There are indeed a few of us out there who get as much pleasure from this kind of thing as we do from great views! And, I have no problem whatsoever if you opt to “steal” my idea about juxtaposing an old fire tower photo with a photo that you took. I like seeing stuff like that!