Owl's Head

Date of Hike: 1/27/13
Lincoln Woods Trail: 2.6 miles
Black Pond Trail: 0.8 miles
Bushwhack: 1.6 miles
Lincoln Brook Trail: 2.2 miles
Brutus Bushwhack / Owl's Head Path: 2.6 miles
Lincoln Brook Trail: 2.2 miles
Bushwhack: 1.6 miles
Black Pond Trail: 0.8 miles
Lincoln Woods Trail: 2.6 miles
Total Mils:  Around 17.0 
3,250 feet elevation gain

Trip Report:
- Sunday was much warmer...as it was at least five degrees at the Lincoln Woods Trailhead when Alton and I arrived at 9 a.m.! We were shocked to see only four cars at the trailhead, we thought with the frigid temperatures and high wind there would be lots of activity at Lincoln Woods with hikers heading to Owl's Head.
- Owl's Head has become one of my favorite mountains because it's the most remote 4,000 footer and is always an adventure.  I enjoy the summer approach more because I get to stay on the trails, which have a lot of history, gnarly water crossings, and a slide.  In the winter the most commonly used route wisely avoids the gnarly water crossings and the slide by bushwhacking from black pond and bushwhacking again well before reaching the slide.
- We hiked a fast clip on the Lincoln Woods and the Black Pond Trails to stay warm.  As we hiked all we heard was creaking of trees and fast wind gusts high above us.
- The bushwhack from Black Pond was well broken out and beaten down so the snowshoes stayed on our packs.  The 'Black Pond Bushwhack' is always broken out differently everytime I hike it, this time it went uphill more than it has the previous three times I have been on it.  It's a nice hike through mostly open woods and only got thick as we descended a moderately steep hill to intersect the Lincoln Brook Trail.
- The two or so miles from the Black Pond Bushwhack to the Brutus Bushwhack was the coldest part of our day.  The wind was not too bad but it was around zero and the very gradual minor uphill was not heating us up well enough and Alton became quite chilled.  She assured me at the Brutus Bushwhack she was fine to continue on.
- Within minutes we went from chilled to sweating as we went strait up a steep embankment and hooked a right onto an old skidder road where the hiking became gradual through some Birch trees up a well broken out path and more importantly completely out of the wind.
- When we reached a gully we banged a left and over the next few tenths of a mile we ascended steeply angling diagonally to the left through pine trees kicking in steps and grabing branches through a shute-like smooth path left from the previous day's glissaders.
- Eventually the bushwhack becomes much easier and hooks onto the Owl's Head Path above the slide where unfortunately it again becomes very steep until it gains the ridge.  We didn't hang around long on top, it was too cold and we were back in a spot where wind gusts were present so we booked it back down to lower elevations and temperatures above zero.
- We ran into the only two hikers we saw all day as we slip and slided our way down the Brutus Bushwhack.  It was nice to see we weren't the only two fools coo-coo enough to think hiking the most remote 4,000 footer on a zero degree day equals fun!
- The hike out went quickly, we both stayed relatively warm and made sure to keep hydrating and eating snacks.  When we reached The Lincoln Woods Trail there was quite a few x-country skiers out and about.  We also saw the WMNF service driving snow mobiles and an ATV loaded with hey for horses who were spending the night before moving out the junk left behind from the Black Brook bridge when it was removed in 2009.
- We made it back to the car at 2:50 p.m. and quickly changed into comfortable clothes before heading south.  Eventhough it was cold, it was well worth the trip to see 'Owlie'!!

East Branch Suspension Bridge at Lincoln Woods
 
Lincoln Woods Trail
 Alton on the Black Pond Trail
 Black Pond
Owl's Head 
 Owl's Head from Black Pond
 Black Pond Bushwhack
Bright Sun shining through the woods on the Black Pond Bushwhack
 
Black Pond Bushwhack
 Lincoln Brook Trail
 Lincoln Brook Trail
Crossing the Lincoln Brook
 The Brutus Bushwhack
 Birch Glades on Owl's Head
 Brutus Bushwhack
 Alton heading up the Owl's Head Path
 Owl's Head Path
Old Summit
 
Owl's Head Ridge
Owl's Head Path
 Descending the Brutus Bushwhack
 Pine grove on the Brutus Bushwhack
 Alton heading back into the Birch Glades
 Steep side hill on the Brutus Bushwhack
 Looking back up the Brutus Bushwhack
 Brutus Bushwhack
 Crossing the Lincoln Brook
 Lincoln Brook
 Almost frozen over Lincoln Brook
 Lincoln Brook Trail
 Old Logging Road on the Lincoln Brook Trail
Lincoln Brook 
 Looks so cold!
 Lincoln Brook
 Lincoln Brook
Woods of the Black Pond Bushwhack
 Alton on the Black Pond Bushwhack
 Black Pond
 Black Pond Trail
 Frozen Beaver Swamp off the Black Pond Trail
Ice Pond 
 Lincoln Woods Trail
 East Branch of the Pemi and an old Railroad part
 Lincoln Woods Trail
 Osseo Trail Junction
 East Branch
 Lincoln Woods Trail
 East Branch and the Kanc
 East Branch of the Pemigewasset River
Lincoln Woods Trailhead

6 comments:

  1. Nice job guys!Nice peak to get this month.Rock on.....

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Hiker Dude, definitely much more snow and a lot more fun than last January when I hiked Owl's Head!

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  2. Did the rangers say if the horses were removing everything that was left behind?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jim, they didn't say so unfortunately I do not know if they did.

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  3. Chris,
    Great pictures. You guys amaze me. I'd have to do this as an overnight or a lot in the dark in the short winter daylight hours. The pictures make me wish I had done more than one January hike and had not let the NOAA fotecast scare me off.
    Marvin

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Marvin. Owl's Head is a great summer you should get back to do. Alot of people use the Black Pond Bushwhack in the summer but I love staying on the Franconia Brook and Lincoln Brook Trails as long as the water crossings aren't running high. Lots of history on the old logging and RR, with some onld railroad parts here and there. Pretty cool hike through history!

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