Owl's Head Mountain
- Date: May 13-17, 2011
- Trail: Lincoln Woods Trail, Black Pond Trail, Bushwhack, Lincoln Brook Trail, Owl's Head Path
- Total hiking time: 8 hours (day 1) and 14 hours (day 2)
- Weather: Overcast and 50's, heavy rain on the afternoon and evening of day 2
"I began by leading Randy off into the woods. This proved to be quite the challenge. I was the only person in the group who actually knew the route of the bushwhack and it became increasingly difficult to guide the entire group in the right direction and guide Randy."
Read more about Sherpa's thoughts on Owl's Head here.
The group of seven (and Quinn) met at the Lincoln Woods trailhead and began our hike across the suspension bridge, then followed the Lincoln Woods and Black Pond Trails at a quick pace for the first 3.5 miles. After Black Pond, the real fun began. Sherpa led the team through the bushwhack while guiding Randy around swampy water and over blow downs. Robby took over guiding for Randy so Sherpa could concentrate on the path, and the crew moved smoothly through the bushwhack, until we hit the Lincoln Brook Trail. We had avoided two large river crossings, but we also knew there were three more before the day was out. The crossings were a learning experience, but we figured out a system where a team member called from the opposite shore while Randy (decked out with Teva water shoes and poles) navigated through the freezing water. At one crossing, we had to step off a 3-foot glacier on the side of the river to get in. While we felt proud to have mastered the crossings, we still lost quite a bit of time with the addition of glaciers, boot changes, and negotiations. By the time we came to the base of the slide, it was around 4pm, and we decided it was smarter to camp there than summit that evening.
The next morning, the team awoke at 5am and was on the trail by 7am. The slide was a big challenge for Randy due to the loose footing and steepness, but he tackled it well with the help of Sherpa and Robby, while Quinn remained off duty. He even used his hands and knees at certain points. We hit some ice-encrusted monorails near the top, continued along the ridge postholing and hiking across blow downs, and reached both the old and the new summits.
After a relieved celebration at the top and touching the summit cairn, we began our descent around 11am, knowing we still had a lot to accomplish that day. Randy's efficiency was amazing as he turned around to face the mountain and worked his way backwards down the slide, moving by the feel of the rock and Sherpa's verbal instructions. We arrived back at camp for lunch, where Randy unfortunately hit his head on a tree, which affected the next few hours of the hike. He was concerned about a migraine and his balance was off, but he was determined as we headed back down Lincoln Brook Trail. At the river crossings, Quinn was carried across because of the depth and strength of the river. All of these things were adjustments that the team responded to well. Around 5pm, heavy rain began, which in addition to the thick fog and our tiring bodies, added to the long day. We headed off in a slightly wrong direction for the bushwhack which meant we hiked out via Franconia Falls instead of via Black Pond. We worked through the detour and once we hit the falls, it was a flat trail - we were out by 9pm, waterlogged, tired, yet feeling accomplished.
Pre-hike page:Owl's Head Mountain Pre-hike Information
Blog posts about the hike:"The Owl's Head Sensation" by Sherpa John
"Starting our Season with Success - Owl's Head!" by Randy