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06 May 2013

A Cliff Named Owls Head, and a Waterfall Named Waternomee

Although peakbagging is a laudable activity, it holds little interest for me.   But, as with most things, there are exceptions!

There are six named peaks in the Benton Range (Black Mountain; Sugarloaf Mountain; the Hogsback; Jeffers Mountain; Blueberry Mountain; and Owls Head).  At one time or another, I had hiked to all of those mountains, except for Owls Head.  And so, in order to complete the set, I decided to become a peakbagger and hike to this little 1,967 ft. peak.  But somehow, I don't think there is an award or patch given out for completing all the peaks in the Benton Range! :-)

There's not much to be said, other than this was a short and easy off-trail adventure that was launched from the Blueberry Mountain Trail.

On my way to the trailhead, I pulled off the road to take a photo of Owls Head as viewed looking across Olivarian Pond.
Owls Head as viewed looking across Oliverian Pond
As you might imagine, there are several viewpoints from the edge of the massive cliffs on Owls Head.  By looking directly across the road (Rt. 25), you see nearby Webster Slide Mountain and Mt. Mist.
Webster Slide Mountain and Mt. Mist as viewed from Owls Head cliff
Zoomed view of Webster Slide Mountain and Mt. Mist (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
When looking slightly to your right (northward), you can see Oliverian Pond below you.
Oliverian Pond viewed from Owls Head cliff 
And to your left, you're looking southward down the valley toward Warren, NH and Carr Mountain.
Southward view from Owls Head looking toward Warren, NH and Carr Mountain
During my descent back to the Blueberry Mountain trailhead, I zoomed in on the long flat summit area of Mt. Moosilauke.  It appears that the snow is quickly disappearing with the arrival of warm Springtime temperatures.
Zoomed view of Mt. Moosilauke summit, as viewed from Blueberry Mountain Trail
Although it would have been very doable to have incorporated Blueberry Mountain into my adventure, I opted not to do so.  Not only had I just been there recently, but I also wanted to allow time for a short hike to Waternomee Falls in nearby Warren, NH.  My only other visit to these falls occurred a few years ago during the winter months.  At that time, the falls were less than impressive (see photo below).  I wanted to give them a second chance by doing a Springtime visit when the water would be flowing.
Waternomee Falls in winter
I started my hike from the designated pull-off on Clifford Brook Road for the Carr Mountain Trail.  In about 25 minutes, I arrived at the spur trail for Waternomee Falls.
Sign at spur trail for Waternomee Falls
Before arriving at Waternomee Falls, you cross a small brook that is a branch of Clifford Brook.  There is a picturesque little cascade off to your right as you cross this brook.
Cascade on a branch brook that flows into Clifford Brook
Regarding my visit to Waternomee Falls, I truly dislike saying unflattering things about this place.  However, this waterfall seemed to be nearly as unattractive in the Springtime, as it was in the Wintertime.  Perhaps it's just me, but no matter from what perspective I viewed it, there was very little appeal.  And to complicate things, I couldn't seem to find a viewpoint which gave a perspective as to the size of this waterfall.  Although it's not huge to begin with, my photos make this waterfall look even smaller than it is.  

Regardless, shown below are two snapshots of the falls that were taken from different spots. 
Collage of two photos of Waternomee Falls taken from two different viewpoints
To sum it up, my visit to Owls Head was an enjoyable experience.  My visit to Waternomee Falls, was less rewarding!


NeoAkela said...

Waternomee Falls.... yeah, that's one of my least favorite ones. Funny how that little drop deserved a name, while other much more impressive watery leaps (the Peabody in the Great Gulf, Sphinx Trail, etc) get none!

Makes me wonder still about the fabled 3 or so waterfalls up above Waternomee. If this one is any example, I don't hold out much hope for the others. Of course, I'll still have to check someday since I am a waterfall-bagger :)

That little cascade is quite nice-looking, though!

Great report, and cool shots from Owl's Head. I'm guessing that someone way back in NH history really liked owls.

Lisa said...

I love your comment about 'peakbagging' a 1900 footer! That's my kind of peakbagging! Love the photos, esp the one of the mossy cascade. Happy blogging...

1HappyHiker said...

Hey Chris,

Yes, the views from Owls Head were more impressive than I’d thought they would be. Prior to the hike, I got a general idea of what to expect from Google Earth. However, there’s no substitute for actually being at a location to experience the views with your own eyes.

You and I are in complete agreement about being perplexed as to why some of the least deserving waterfalls are bestowed with an official name. Whereas, there are many very impressive “watery leaps” that are unnamed! Is there some politics involved? Is there such a thing as a waterfall lobby? :-)

Oh! And yes, I agree that the true star of the show is that little cascade prior to reaching Waternomee Falls.

I’ll look forward to seeing images of the waterfalls above Waternomee when you do that trek.

Thanks for your comments, Chris.


1HappyHiker said...

Oh, the lengths some of us will go to in order to bag a peak! :-)

Thanks for your comments, Lisa! I’m very appreciative.


Rita Wechter said...

Nice views from Owl's head cliff—I like the view with your pack in the foreground.

I also liked your comment about there being (possibly) a waterfall lobby! Who knows? I suppose anything is possible - especially if there was any money involved in the naming of waterfalls!

Looks like you had another fun day in the mountains, John!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Glad you found some items of interest in this posting. Like many of my hikes, this was basically a local hike to a little peak that has little fame or recognition. However, folks like you with a deep love of the natural world, can routinely find beauty in places that will never achieve stardom!

Thank you for reading my blog and for posting your thoughts.


Tom Standley said...

Just came across your blog - awesome photos!

Happy hiking - Tom

1HappyHiker said...

Tom, thanks for the kind words!

I’ll be certain to frequently check your blog ( for new reports of your hiking adventures.


Summerset said...

Another Owl's Head, I didn't know there were three. There's probably more than that in NH, seems like a popular old name for such features. I know there are a lot of features in NH that have the same name - there are two Whitefaces, for example (and a Whiteface in VT too!). To my knowledge there isn't a "Benton Six" patch, LOL, but nice to know that you've explored a nice portion of the Benton range!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset,

A “Benton Six” patch! Love it! I’ll have to make up something and put it on my pack! :-)

Regarding Owls Head, I can think of yet other spot having the same name. It’s the large cliff in the Pilot Range which is visible in the distance to your left as you’re travelling northeasterly on Rt. 115.

Thanks for your comments!


Dean Goss said...

My understanding (not based on actual exploration...I haven't been down there myself...) based on the old Moses Sweetser book is that Middle Cascade (60') is halfway between Waternomee and Hurricane Falls. Hurricane Falls comes in on the left a ways above Waternomee, above that is Wolf's Head Falls, and there is a basincalled Diana's Bowl at the crest of Wolf's Head Falls. If anyone wants a .pdf copy of the old Sweetser book (I found a copy in the library at the Vermont Historical Society years ago and had a long and illuminating foray, all the while taking voluminous notes...), I'd be happy to email it to you.
Dean Goss,,,

Dean Goss said...

There isn't a waterfall lobby so to're a pioneer...just name them yourself and eventually, the name will stick. I've coined names for dozens of falls that eventually caught on. My only recommendation is try to be "legit" about how you name things...for example, I began to call the smaller unnamed waterfall near one of Vermont's two waterfalls called Moss Glen Falls (the one in Granville) "Little Moss Glen Falls", and it seems that is the currently accepted name. Since people like you and I and Chris are a bit more interested in the subject matter than others, we can make up names as we go. I highly doubt the native locals called it "Finger Rock", but that didn't stop the pioneers moving west...

1HappyHiker said...

Hey Dean . . . those are all good points you make, especially about being “legit” regarding naming things. That’s pretty cool that you have coined names for dozens of falls that have eventually caught on and have become the generally accepted name!


1HappyHiker said...

Dean, thank you so much for not only taking time to post your comments, but also for your kind offer to provide a .pdf copy of the old Sweetser book. Yes, I’d love to have it. I’ll provide my e-mail address by contacting you via personal communication.

Armed with the Sweetser info, I’ll be most eager to do some exploration in that area once Springtime rolls around! Am always looking for new things to explore, and this certainly qualifies!

Thanks again!