Owls Head (Winter) 3/08/14:Owls Head is the longest single mountain hike. The normal non-winter hike is ~18 miles. I did it in Aug-2012 in about 14 hrs. There are 2 bushwhacks typically used in the winter to bring it down to ~16.5 miles. There was no way I was going to attempt this in one shot so I planned it as a overnight bivouac. A good part of the walk in on near level ground so I figured I'd pull my pulk (sled) again. I wanted to make it into the start of the 2d bushwhack (known as the Brutus Bushwhack) the first day with the pulk and set up camp just before it started getting steep. As it turned out the trail got rougher than I expected and my sled was too wide for the narrow broken out trail so I set camp a few miles short of the start of the 2d whack.
Arrived at Lincoln Woods Trail head at ~ 3pm Friday.
Start of the Black Pond trail off of the Lincoln Woods trail which leads to the 1st bushwhack (the Black Pond Bushwhack)
The two established bushwhacks I used for this hike can't really be thought of as normal bushwhacks because they have been broken out so well that they are like a snow blower path through the woods.
Black Pond. The actual trail stops here but the black pond bushwhack starts here and cuts over to Lincoln Brook trail
An igloo someone built on Black Pond
It was a relatively warm day. I started with just two layers of teckwick but was soon down to just one thin layer.
At almost 7pm , (traveling by headlamp) the gullies across the trail were getting too rough and I decided to set up camp. I had hoped to get to the start of the 2d bushwhack at the base of the Mountain just before it got steep. I found a nice clear area in a gully just off the trail. It was actually over a frozen section Lincoln Brook. There was 3-4 feet of snow over the ice that I tramped down to make a level packed area to set my tiny tent up over a tarp I had brought (pictures later)
Flash picture of my camp site.
The late Brutus is kind of famous as one of he first Dogs to complete the winter 48 peaks in one season. Actually dogs can no longer be recognised by the AMC for the winter 48 list. I think thats a good thing.
A tough blow-down across the broken trail. Too low to crawl under and difficult to step over with snow shoes. And, I haven't mentioned it yet but if you step off the broken-out trail, its knee deep or higher. So walking around isn't much of an option either. I had changed to snow shoes for the ascent because even though here was no ice and the trail was hard packed, it was too steep and slippery for my micro spikes.
after reaching the South ridge there are a few isolated peeks through the trees. Owls head does not have much for views (except on the slide approach).
This is probably the best view from the ridge looking over to the Fanconia Ridge. I think this is looking at Mt Lincoln with Lafayette to the right, (but it may be the Flume and Liberty).
Back down to Lincoln Brook trail at the start of the bushwhack. I met two other groups of 2 hikers just starting up the BB .
Back at my campsite. You can see the trail going off to the right.
Back at the Lincoln Woods trail
Once I was back on the super wide (and near level) Lincoln Woods trail I was able to load my pulk back up with both my pack and my bag, for a fast walk back to the trail head. I'm mising my last few photos, but I made it back to the trailhead at about 2:40 pm. So I ended up hiking about 4 hrs the first day and ~ 10 hrs the second day for a total of ~ 14 hours which is about what it took me in August of 2012. However, I dont think i would have had the stamina to do the full hike in one day.
It was agreat hike, but i don't think i'll be doing Owls Head. its one of those peaks that I would only hike to check off a box on a list and i just did that.