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Thread: Loop around the Owl

  1. #1
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    Loop around the Owl

    We went in via Black Pond bushwhack and managed to miss the major herd path and then went up Lincoln Brook trail. Plenty of folks heading up to the Owl. I had never headed up the LBT past the Owl cut off. The reputation in years past was a very poorly marked very wet route easy to loose. That is no longer the case, its very well maintained with very recent maintenance, a little wet at the height of land but very nice for a Wilderness area.The trail from the height of land down to 13 Falls is a boulevard. We figured there would not be lot of traffic but there was a lot. Several folks coming to do the Owl from the Galehead area. We also saw a group coming up out of the woods and it turned out they has just come down the Lincoln Slide after a climb up Lincolns Throat on west side of the Lafayette Ridge. They call themselves the White Mountain Maniacs and it turned out I reconnected with someone I had hiked with a few years back. She had finished the lists and is now redlining. We had a chance to talk to her again at 13 falls. 13 Falls was busy, they were full up at around 1 PM and after 45 minute break we headed south on Franconia Brook Trail . It was around 2:30 and as we headed south we saw many people heading up to 13 falls. I was a bit surprised by the overall obsession with camping at 13 falls, plenty of spots where the 200 foot rule outside to the 13 falls RUA would yield a very nice legit brook side campsite. We did bit of trail maintenance on the way out mostly above Red Rock Brook. Mostly sawing out large blowdowns with handsaws and getting the path clear around the big stuff. The crossings at Red Rock Brook and Hellgate brook both are pretty beat up from high water events last fall. We went straight down to Bondcliff trail and then out via Lincoln Woods. Plenty of folks heading up to Franconia Falls with swimming gear while we were coming out.

    Overall the temps were nice in the woods, much of the time there is natural air conditioning along the stream beds. Once past the Owl on the LBT there was nice breeze and even up at the height of land the breeze kept it relatively cool. About the only concession to the heat was we sat in the shade. When I hopped in the car and started driving towards Lincoln the outdoor air thermometer read 78 degrees. The only other concession was I boosted up my water use and used a couple of electrolyte tabs.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The reputation in years past was a very poorly marked very wet route easy to loose. That is no longer the case, its very well maintained with very recent maintenance, a little wet at the height of land but very nice for a Wilderness area.The trail from the height of land down to 13 Falls is a boulevard.
    I was the trail maintainer from the OH slide to Camp 13 for 5-6 years in the late 00s. Trail finding was a really fun adventure for those first few seasons: both at the height of land, coming from either direction and just past the slide headed north. Then a USFS trail crew came through one season, followed the next summer by a caretaker at Camp 13 did a prodigious amount of work up to the height of land.

    I gave up being the trail maintainer after that. I had been taking a bonsai tree approach to brushing out since I enjoy those valley trails that require a bit of focused attention to follow. Most of my time had been spent trying to brush in herd paths to campsites north of the slide. Maintaining a trail deep in the Pemi was a great excuse spend a long weekend in the woods every Spring.

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    It was around 2:30 and as we headed south we saw many people heading up to 13 falls. I was a bit surprised by the overall obsession with camping at 13 falls, plenty of spots where the 200 foot rule outside to the 13 falls RUA would yield a very nice legit brook side campsite.
    For me, those established camp sites deeper in the woods [Camp 13, Dry River # 3, Perkins Notch] were a stepping stone to dispersed camping. Much like the huts were stepping stones to the shelters and other established camp sites. So I imagine that there are many backpackers who never make the transition to truly dispersed camping. Even now, I have some stress not knowing how difficult it will be to find a good spot at the end of the day.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iagreewithjamie's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. A person could easily spend a week working their way around the Owl by taking in all of the awesome side trips in the bowl. That's a great area.

    As for the camp sites on the brooks... Those have been there for years. What is worse in this case: using a well established site that's right next to the brook, and 50 ft from the trail... or heading into the wilderness to set up a new spot? In my experience, the folks who use the sites that are on the brook are the type you probably wouldn't want trekking off trail, or handling wilderness with care... not to be a condescending a-hole or anything.
    Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop
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