We had briefly discussed yesterday that the sunrise would probably be great from Mount Martha but I’m never very good at getting up that early. Luckily, I was already awake and reading when I heard someone else whisper “Sunrise!” so I got out of my tent to join the viewing party. It was a pretty good one, seen over the Presidential range.
Despite the early wake-up, we still took a while to breakfast and get ready so we didn’t get an earlier start than normal. We traversed the short distance to Owlshead at 3248′ before starting the descent. That’s where we finally saw our first Cohos Trail sign and yellow blazes.
After stopping at a stream for some much-needed water on the very sweaty downhill, we crossed Route 115 and got onto the Slide Brook Trail. It was a short connector taking us through field, bog, and wood to the Presidential Range Rail Trail. The rail trail took us through the Moorhen Marsh which was very pretty.
We stopped for lunch at a deck on Cherry Pond overlooking the Kilkenny Range, where we’ll hike tomorrow. It was a perfect spot except for the mosquitoes. I didn’t think bugs would be an issue at all on this trip because it’s so late in the season, but it’s also super warm and I guess there are always bugs near water.
We got back on the rail trail, turned onto some actual rail tracks, then got back in the woods on the Ice Ramparts Trail to continue around Cherry Pond. Then it was the Colonel Whipple Trail out to the road. Both trails seemed very new, with not much (or any) tread built in.
We walked the gravel Whipple Road and then paved Route 115A up to Route 2 in Jefferson. There wasn’t much traffic so the road walk wasn’t bad. Plus, there were Golden Delicious apples along the road!
We got to the Old Corner Store in Jefferson after 13.5 miles by 2:00. They have a great porch for hanging out on so we just relaxed at first. Then I went in to buy my resupply for the next two days. The selection wasn’t great so I have almost all junk food. Next we ordered a couple of pizzas which were amazingly delicious. The crust was so good! I had to take one of my slices to go, along with some other snacks and drinks that I bought for the evening.
It was time to mosey on down to the Lantern Campground, but with it being almost a mile off trail, I didn’t want to walk it. Chuckles and Spoon started hitching with me while Jon and Kyle started walking. While there had previously been plenty of trucks pulling in and out of the store’s gas station, they suddenly stopped coming so frequently. We were starting to give up after ten minutes when Yvan pulled over. Turns out he’s on the Cohos Trail Association’s board so he knew just what we were up to and gave us a lift to the campground. We made it minutes before Jon and Kyle, thus winning.
We checked into the campground which was unfortunately (for them) not very busy. They’d had a fire in the motel recently which caused problems with their water so not all of the campground was open and the motel was completely closed. They were so nice though, upgrading us to an RV site nearer the bathhouse, letting us spread out over two sites, and lending us towels and soaps from the motel to use in the campground showers.
I set up my tent then went right to the shower! It’s been so hot and humid that I couldn’t wait to wash the accumulated sweat off. Another great thing about the bathhouse was the attached laundry room. We collected all of our dirty clothes together and started a wash.
We bought some firewood before the store closed and enjoyed sitting around the campfire for the rest of the night, and by that I mean 8:30 or so.