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07 November 2012

Viewing the Presidential Mountain Range on Election Day 2012

As time and weather has permitted, I've been visiting each of my adopted hiking trails to assess the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.   After casting my vote on Election Day 2012, I decided to hike up to Cherry Mountain to patrol my adopted Martha's Mile Trail.  Considering the remarkable views of the Presidential Mountain Range from Cherry Mountain, it seemed fitting to visit this mountaintop on a Presidential Election Day.

Although I'm not always consistent, my current goal for this Blog is to only write about hikes that are either new to me and/or hikes that are a bit different.   With that objective in mind, I am reluctantly including this hike in my Blog, even though it's one that I've done many times.

A major factor that tipped the scale to write about this trip was the fact that this was my first trek of the season that included snow.  As I left my home in Bethlehem, no snow could be seen on the surrounding landscape.   However, upon arrival at the trailhead for the Cherry Mountain Trail on NH Rt. 115, there was a light coating of snow.  The snow-depth eventually topped out at about 3 inches along the Cherry Mountain ridgeline which connects Mt. Martha and Owl's Head.

Upon reaching Mt. Martha, I was greeted by a view of the Presidential Range encased in snow which I'm certain was deeper than the 3-inch layer I was experiencing!
 Presidential Range as viewed from Mt. Martha

I lingered just long enough on Mt. Martha to snap a few photos.  Just over my left shoulder was the Martha's Mile Trail which was beckoning me.   And after all, assessing the condition of this trail was my main objective for this day!
Sign for Martha's Mile Trail

Although the Winter Season has not officially arrived according to the calendar, there were wintery conditions all along the Martha's Mile corridor.
 Typical wintery scene along Martha's Mile corridor

Besides the wintery scenes along the trail corridor, there were scenes overhead which I found appealing.  I loved seeing the snow-coated tree branches contrasted against the brilliant blue sky.
Snow-coated tree branches contrasted against a brilliant blue sky

And so you might ask, did Superstorm Sandy have any impact on the Martha's Mile Trail?  Yes, is the short answer.  
The slightly longer answer is that there were a total of five downed trees.  All but one of them required a saw for removal. However, none of the five blowdowns were truly significant.  There were hiker's tracks in the snow which showed that they had been able to maneuver around these obstacles.   Nonetheless, I feel better about having removed these downed trees from the trail.

After having worked the entire length of Martha's Mile, it was time to enjoy the reward of experiencing the awesome views from Owl's Head.   The main attraction at this viewpoint is the sweeping vista of the Presidential Range.  It is somewhat similar to the view from Mt. Martha, but is a more open view.
View of Presidential Range from Owl's Head

And of course, on such a clear day, I simply had to take a highly zoomed photo of the summit of Mt. Washington.
Highly zoomed photo of the summit of Mt. Washington

A few other zoomed photos were taken of other landscape features, such as Willoughby Gap in northern Vermont, and Cherry Pond and Little Cherry Pond which rest near the base of Cherry Mountain.
 Zoomed view of Willoughby Gap in northern Vermont

Zoomed view of Cherry Pond and Little Cherry Pond located near the base of Cherry Mountain

Of course, it eventually came time to descend Owl's Head and retrace my steps back to the trailhead.   On both my inbound and outbound trek along Martha's Mile, I took time to saw-off any snow-laden branches that were obstructing the view of the blazes along the trail.  The surrounding woods along the trail corridor are very open.  Without the aid of blazes, it can be easy for hikers to lose this trail during wintertime travel.

Once I arrived back at Mt. Martha, I took time for a brief visit to a viewpoint that I had bypassed when I was there earlier in the day.  From this particular spot, there is a nice vista of high peaks in the Franconia Range and Twin Range.
High peaks in the Franconia Range and Twin Range as viewed from Mt. Martha

Following my brief side trip atop Mt. Martha, I began my final descent.  By this time, evening was fast-approaching.  
I stopped to take a photo of the trail being illuminated by the golden colors of the setting sun.  This was a wonderful ending to a very enjoyable day on Cherry Mountain.
 Trail being illuminated by the golden colors of the setting sun

To sum it up, many other hikers have already taken the plunge into winter hiking for this season.  However, this was my personal kick-off to what I'm hoping will be just the first of many enjoyable winter hikes for the 2012-2013 season.   And besides all that, it was a gratifying experience to hike to a mountain with views of the Presidential Range on a Presidential Election Day!

ADDENDUM (added 08-Nov-2012):

The route I followed on this hike is highlighted in yellow on the map shown below.


One Day in America said...

Wow John. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You could sell your photographs—they document so well the beauty of New England's forests. Your last shot of the golden sun illuminating the trail - priceless! That photo would make the perfect piece of artwork to hang above the fireplace during winter. So peaceful and serene.

Glad to hear you were able to enjoy the snowy forests and mountain views while maintaining this beautiful trail.

Great post John!

Don said...

What a great hike and a perfect day! Have been wanting to do this one. Scenery and photos are fantastic!

Grey's Anatomy its not... said...

Once again, beautiful photos. Thanks for posting. Windy and sleeting outside my office window :-(

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

It’s always gratifying to read that someone likes your photos. Thank you!

You and I are both so fortunate to live near scenic locations (albeit in different parts of the U.S.) where a great photo will often result from simply pointing the camera and pushing down on the shutter button!


1HappyHiker said...

Don . . . thank you for your very nice comments!

Don’t know how I’ve missed seeing your Blog ( where you have posted some great hikes. I just signed up to become an e-mail subscriber to your Blog!


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for taking a moment to post your comments . . . very much appreciated!

The wind and sleet that you are experiencing at your location is headed this way! Sleet is sort of okay, but wind is something I can definitely do without! :)


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi John,

Stunning photo of Presidentials with snow, given that the ground is so bare and relatively warm elsewhere. Your report gets me excited about winter hiking. Although I haven't hiked the Martha's Mile Trail, thanks for your trail maintenance.


1HappyHiker said...

Ellen, thank you for your comments!

You hit the nail on the head with your comment about the snow. It was quite dramatic to leave my home with the bare-ground conditions of late Autumn, and then suddenly experience a covering of snow right from the “get-go” starting at the trailhead!


JustJoe said...

I like that John, viewing the Presi's on Presidential election day. I'll just echo the others and say beautiful photos. It looks like winter's here for sure. I've been on Mt. Martha, I've been on Owls Head, but I've yet to hike Martha's Mile. I don't say this often enough. Thanks for the trail maintenance.


Don said...

Thanks for subscribing John!

1HappyHiker said...

Joe, thank you for your comments!

It’s completely understandable that many hikers don’t use the Martha’s Mile Trail. Many choose to do what you have done by visiting Owl’s Head and Mt. Martha as separate hikes. Use of the Martha’s Mile Trail probably makes the most sense if you’re hiking with a friend and can do a traverse of Cherry Mountain by spotting cars at the trailheads for the Owl’s Head and the Mt. Martha end of the ridgeline.


MiscellanyEsq said...

I agree with Rita. I really enjoy your photographs at least as much as your trail reports. Just being reminded that such beauty is there for my next trip up to the Whites, helps keep me going between hikes.

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you for taking time to post such kind remarks about my Blog! I’m truly appreciative.


Steve Smith said...

Great photos and report, John! Those Presy views are midwinter spectacular!


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Steve!

Concerning those views of the Presidential Range, as you know this mountain range is visible off in the distance from Bethlehem. Even though I frequently see them as I’m out and about around town, I was still a bit stunned when I popped out atop Mt. Martha and saw these mountains “up close and personal”! I didn’t expect them to be cloaked in a garb more befitting of midwinter, especially since it’s not even officially winter yet!


OPW5000 said...

Spectacular. Particularly like the final shot...a hike I need to add to my list.

Alice Elizabeth said...

These pictures are beautiful. You're very talented.

1HappyHiker said...

Owen, thank you for not only taking time to respond, but also for enduring the hurdles of entering fuzzy letter and number combinations that one must endure in order to post a response!

This is a hike that is worthy of adding to your list! Ideally, it’s nice to do it with a friend and do a “car-spot” so that you can traverse the entire ridgeline without having to backtrack. However, if you’re doing this hike during the depths of winter, then usually a “car-spot” is NOT an option since the Owl’s Head parking lot isn’t plowed. Although the parking lot for the Cherry Mountain Trail isn’t normally plowed either, there is usually room to park a couple of cars across the street on the shoulder of the road at the intersection of Rt. 115 and Lennon Road.


1HappyHiker said...

Alice Elizabeth, I’m delighted that you like the photos I posted. As I indicated in a response to another comment, the beauty of nature is often so apparent that all one has to do in order to capture a beautiful image is to simply “point and shoot”!

Speaking of beautiful images, I just took a quick spin of your Blog postings and was very impressed with the autumn scene you posted in your report entitled “Stop and Admire the Leaves” ( Was that photo taken in your home State of Alabama?


OPW5000 said...

Thanks for the info. You know you can disable the requirement to enter those fuzzy letters. It's somewhere in the options.

1HappyHiker said...

Owen, for whatever reason, I seem to be a “spam-magnet”! I disabled the fuzzy letter/number requirement for awhile. However, I got enough inappropriate garbage to convince me to reinstate the requirement. :(