ravenSeptember 16, 2013 at 10:58 amPost count: 24
Verifying the flag flew from the summit of Owls Head. Good goup. Good day. More of a report and pictures to come.SilentCalModeratorSeptember 16, 2013 at 12:01 pmPost count: 1284
Thanks so much for taking this out of the way peak! :flag:ravenSeptember 16, 2013 at 3:18 pmPost count: 24
My pleasure. I actually enjoy Owls Head Mountain!HikingFanaticsSeptember 16, 2013 at 5:21 pmPost count: 2
We, Hiker-D, Hiker-G, and Hiker-P (Donna, Garnet, Pat) would also like to extend our thanks to Raven (Scott) for not only taking this out of the way peak, but for navigating the bushwhack North and South with such knowledge and precision, and for making sure our group was always safe!
Also Scott as we already told you, we would like to thank you for making this one of our most memorable and meaningful hikes, especially being Hiker-G’s 48th! We could not have done this without you!
Also my personnel thanks again to Dave for taking up the rear and being so patient behind me on the “slide”!!!!
Again we thank everyone from the bottom of our big HIKER hearts :flag:
DonnaravenSeptember 18, 2013 at 2:31 amPost count: 24
Owls Head Mountain
We gathered early Saturday morning in the predawn darkness at Lincoln Woods Ranger Station. By the light of our headlamps, those of us there a little early said hello and introduced ourselves, quickly finding most of us were there for Owls Head or Bondcliff. One young lady couldn’t decide between the two. Eventually, she found the Bondcliff group and picked that one…yes, she chose Bondcliff over Owls Head. Imagine.
The Belmont group, the hiking fanatics, Dave, and I prepared. Dave and I exchanged a look as we realized we needed our rain jackets. The mist had become light rain. We had a group meeting to split up gear and discuss the options: Option one, and the advertised route involved sticking to the trails and the two notorious crossings of Franconia and Lincoln Brooks. The last few days had seen a fair amount of rain and my suspicion was these crossings would be dangerous at best and impassable at worst. Option two was the Black Pond bushwhack route which is essentially a 3/4 mile off trail shortcut that avoids these crossings. The group felt comfortable with the bushwhack option. We were on the way by 6 AM.
The bushwhack is relatively easy with basic navigational skills especially when heading north to the Lincoln Brook Trail. We stayed high and dry and hit the LBT at the crossing in about 45 minutes. A short break here gave everyone a chance to eat some food and chat a bit. Two women came upon us; they were also headed to Owls Head to finish their 5th and 6th rounds of the 48 if I recall correctly (Congratulations!)
The remaining crossings were still a challenge in a couple cases and in one instance, some of us removed the boots and “waded” across in nothing more than knee-deep water, but with a strong current.
The slide was loose and wet and we took care not to kick loose too many rocks to slide down on others below. We moved relatively quickly up the slide and headed out to the new summit. After getting some calories and warm, dry clothes on, we discussed options. We had made it in good time and would have the flag up but the cold, breezy summit combined with damp conditions would necessitate some changes. The flag was up and flying quickly on its pole while strapped to an old, large tree stump that stood maybe 6 feet tall near the summit with some nice open space above. We observed a moment of silence to honor those whom we came to remember.
Shortly, the Belmont group headed out. They were comfortable with navigational skills, had map and compass, and had taken GPS coordinates along the Black Pond route out as a backup. It was the smart choice to head out. The hiking fanatics hung for a bit longer and then they were on their way as well, so they could navigate the wet slide more carefully. Dave and I would leave in a while after breaking down and catch up to them before the bushwhack, or meet them at its start.
The flag had flown proudly for about an hour when we took it down, folded it, and packed up the pole and gear. Winter hat, gloves, fleece, and long pants had kept me comfortable, but the conditions were a little raw. We headed out. We passed maybe 10 people ascending the slide which suprised me a bit, but it appeared people were camping nearby. We caught our group at the base of the slide and headed out. And congratulations to Garnet on completing his 48 (he really didn’t mention it, so I will). The return trip was uneventful and the bushwhack back to Black Pond went smoothly and quickly. On hitting the Lincoln Woods Trail, Pat and Donna turned on the overdrive and we were all back before long. All in all, for Owls Head, and with the concerns over the crossings, bushwhack, and wet slide, things went smoothly. We had a great group of strong hikers, made good time, and had luck on our side. New friends were made, new summits reached, and goals achieved with this hike, and though we knew why we were hiking today, I couldn’t help but think of the positive that still comes from this.
A few pictures from the day:
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