Monday, July 13, 2015

My 34th (Owl's Head Mountain) 4,000 footer!

This is my first trip this year back in the Pemigewasset Wilderness (the area between the Franconia Range on the west and the Presidential Range on the east. left/center, and the Carter-Moriah Range on the right). Today's hike (Monday, July 13, 2015) - Owl's Head Mountain - is in the red square:

Owl's Head is one of the most isolated peaks in the White Mountains. Just going straight in (north from the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center on the Kancamagus Highway) and then back out again would be 18.2 miles (my longest so far has been 17 miles to Mount Garfield/Galehead Mountain in 7 1/2 hours):

I have been thinking about this hike for a while, and I figure the best way is to go up the day before and spend the night in a motel. That way I can get up bright-and-early (or, well, regular for me), have a stick-to-the-ribs breakfast, and hit the trail at 8 AM. There is a nice Days Inn in Campton, NH (exit 27, 17 miles south of exit 32 - Lincoln, NH), and I had a lovely dinner-by-the-Pemigewasset-River at The Country Cow

The view from my table was pretty nice.

Up the next morning, and up 93 to exit 33, then south a little to the Sunny Day Diner ("Best Breakfast in Lincoln, NH") for black coffee, roast beef hash, eggs, toast and home fries - WOW!! Then 6 miles out Route 112 (the Kancamagus Highway - past Loon Ski Area) to get to the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center. After picking up some trash, and remembering bug spray, I crossed over the East Branch Pemigewasset River around 8:15

Wow - the whole first 3 miles are an old logging road - flat, wide and fast (59 minutes!):

Now, this "18.2 miles" does not account for any side-trips, etc, but when I see a sign for Franconia Falls Trail (and the Falls are only 0.4 miles away), what's a guy to do??

The Falls are beautiful:

and there is no mistaking where the trail ends:

The Lincoln Brook Trail is a very nice "regular" trail, at least the southern section:

and you cross over beautiful Lincoln Brook a couple of times:

Sometimes the trail gets a little "rough", but I'm sure it is nothing a weed-wacker couldn't take care of:

Because Owl's Head Path is an unofficial, unmaintained path, there is no sign, but only a cairn. I walked right past it at 10.3 miles (and I was looking for it!) But - God Bless - 0.3 miles further I encountered James coming down the other way!! We compared maps, I turned around, and we found the Path:

The "Path" is actually (mostly) loose rock rubble, almost all of which moves if you step on it. Be Very Careful - both going up and going down. Having said that, coming down I was able to "rock slide" (like "boot skating") for a foot or two at a time. This is looking up the "Path":

There were some great views of the backside of the Franconia Ridge (Mt. Lincoln is left of the slide, and Lafayette is to the right)

and I got my selfie:

It was a beautiful day in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, so after I descended the "Path", I headed north up Lincoln Brook Trail, which "receives much less use ... becoming rough at times". Even with a battery-extender, my iPhone died at 18 miles (about 8 hours):

It is about another 8 miles down Franconia Brook Trail and back to the parking area, and it took me another 3 hours - I finished with 26 miles in 11 hours 15 minutes! (Wait, if I fudge it and add only another 1%, I hiked 26.2 miles - can I get one of those oval stickers for my back window??)
Thank you God for a Great Day!

Monday, July 13, 2015
26 miles -- hiking (11 hours 15 minutes)

Only listened to a couple of random albums today.

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