First climbed to the summit of Owl's Head on October 22, 1997 to complete the Northeast 111, New England 4K and New Hampshire 4K lists of peaks. Always meant to go back after the "true summit" was relocated by about 2/10 of a mile in 2005 but never got around to it. Other fish to fry as the saying goes. But now, with just one New England Highest Hundred peak remaining to finish THAT list, I finally decided to update my credentials and grabbed the new, not-so-new tippy top on August 23, 2017.
Nice long hike. I had thought the scrambling was going to be way tougher and longer than it turned out. The water crossings were heaven sent on the return since it meant a chance to soak my feet in the nice cold water. Didn't see a single soul until I started back down.
It took four hours and ten minutes from the Lincoln Woods parking lot. The river crossings were high and I took my shoes and socks off and kept them dry the first time but after that I simply waded in. The former Army engineer officer I met at the top was fun to talk with. At the bottom I turned right and headed uphill to the top of Mount Garfield, which was my second and last summit of a nineteen mile day. I had a cold so I was a bit slow by the time I got to Galehead hut after dark.
I hiked this in about 7 hours starting from Lincoln Woods at about 9:30 AM - late start blamed on adapting from Mountain Daylight Time. About 3/4 mile in, I realized that I had started on the wrong (east) side of the Pemigawasset River's East Branch on the East Side Trail by mistake and had to cross the river carefully over a fallen log to get over to the Lincoln Woods trail.
I saw no one else after leaving the Franconia Brook Trail, and I was at the summit by 1:30 PM.
I had made good time up until the Owl's Head spur path, but the last mile to the summit kicked my butt! I felt a little overconfident since I had come from Colorado and though my blood would be a little more oxygenated than it was :-)
I could hear mountain thrushes singing for most of the way, so it was nice to have their company. It was raining by the time I finished, around 4:30/5:00 PM.
Great views, good last hike of the trip. Would be great as a 2 day.
Beautiful sunny fall day. Brook crossings were low so could rock-hop over them without wading in. Stunning fall colors. Fun on the slide with great views. Topped out a little before 2 pm and completed the NH 4000ers list with this one. Hiked out fast enough to not need headlamps.
Started my hike at 130 pm and finished in the dark after 12 by flashlight. Quite the adventure.
Yup I passed by the dead moose on Owl's Head slide. It wasn't that bad of a smell (I have a terrible sense of smell, which was good here, but you definately took notice) On the way down what freaked me out was all the maggots on the ground all over the slide. I made good time getting to the top of the slide, but it took me some time to find the true summit. There were some tree blowdowns that threw me off course. I found it though. Some guys pointed out there was a cairn, so that helped me. They said I was the 5th person to summit that day, and I counted 6 others at least that were going for the summit, so it was a busy day for Owl's Head. First clear day in awhile. It's funny when you're walking back on the Lincoln Woods trail, feeling like you were in a battle from all the hiking, all muddy, and tired, and there's all these families, old people, and people strolling along in regular clothes. I got wet somewhat on one of those water crossings. I didn't care. I see the ranger in the parking lot and I announce I just did Owl's Head, and he was looking at me all in shock, like people don't climb Owl's Head. What his problem was I don't know.
Climbed via the Lincoln Brook Trail from Galehead. Not that bad actually. Some nice views of the Franconias while going up the slide. The only true bummer of the day was triping on some loose scree and scratching my camera lense. Made it to the "new" summit, .2 miles beyond the false summit. Didn't really notice any elevation change. Just happy to sit down, have lunch and prepare for the long trek back to Galehead.
Did the Black Pond bushwack out to cut down on time (remember 345 degrees). Up the slide. There are two cairns marking the turn off currently. Found the true summit and followed the trails all the way back out to Lincoln Woods. Water was running high due to 10 inches of rain the previous week. Managed to stay dry most of the time anyways. Long day!
Biked from the trailhead up to the wilderness entrance. Hiked from there. Stream crossings were a welcome change from the trail. Slipped and fell in on one on the way back (glad it didn't happen on the way up). The 6 miles roundtrip on the bike really saved the trip. Making it a manageable 12 mile hike not a 19 mile marathon. Did the trip with my dog, I was amazed he had the energy to run ahead while I was biking back to the trailhead, I wouldn't have if I had walked the whole way and not cheated on my bike.
I do not remember the exact date, but I do remember enough to know that I will not be repeating this hike.
Well I made it to a cairn on what appeared to me to be the top. However, according to the SP page for Owl's Head I may actually have been .2 mile from the actual summit. Does my membership in NE 4k Footers Club still stand?
Not a bad mountain for a viewless summit. The slide climb was fun although not as challenging as I suspected and the summit was a super green experience!
No where near as bad as I expected. Found the turn-off for the west slide at two foot-high cairns, and then the trail is almost as good as a maintained trail after the first 20 ft. I kept it the definition of 1st class (look, no hands!) but it is really a class 2, especially on the descent. A trail of bent grass leads off the old summit, disappearing and reappearing in the thick forest. It's still a bushwhack. I continued until the topography was definitely headed down and then I came back, although on a different path (I found out when I got a fully developed spider web wrapped around my face). On the way back I felt like I had found a local high point when I spied the rock cairn, 18 in. tall off the trail about 12 ft. I also found a small wood sign made from clear pine that faced north, about 10 ft off the ground.
I came back to the old summit for lunch because I knew there were hikers behind me. A list-finisher from Montreal came up first, went to find it, but was unsuccessful. I don't know about the other two pairs that tried it.
Water crossings were low enough for me to make it across dry.
Find Lafayette view from near 4025
Fine day for a jog over the flat approach trails. Once on the summit, I spent much effort bushwhacking and tree-climbing in search of an easterly view, with little result.
Summit wildlife: a hare kept circling around us.
Edit: I was actually at the cairn that then existed, not at the true summit. One of our party confirmed this by bushwhacking north to a higher spot. I made an effort to follow his tracks but don't think I found the true summit.