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Thread: New WMNF sign for Owls Head Path (sort of)

  1. #1
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    New WMNF sign for Owls Head Path (sort of)

    I made a run over to the Owl yesterday. I had been by there earlier in the season and beyond the traditional ever growing widespot and a small cairn and graffiti carved into trees there was no official signage as expected at the turn off to the "path" up the slide. There is now a new WMNF sign located right where a trail sign probably should be warning hikers not to leave their packs unattended due to active bear population. I had heard and seen news references to a "bear stealing packs when hikers set them down" and assumed it was a very bold bear. Seeing the location of the signage it leads me to believe that hikers must be dropping their packs at the junction to go tag the summit and returning, this would most likely be an hour or more where the packs were unattended. That makes lot more sense, given the volume of hikers visiting the spot an opportunistic critter be it a bear, racoon or martin could wait until things get quiet, go raid a pack and hear when folks are approaching and clear out long before they are seen. I always carry my pack except on very rare occasions to the summits so it does not affect me.

    We elected to take the Brutus Bushwhack down and therefore came into the area from a different approach then most folks. While nearing the Lincoln Woods Trail. I saw a black shape running in the woods parallel to the trail. I yelled bear but upon closer examination it was bear cub sized mostly black dog I had met earlier in the day. Looking at the woods in this area I expect an actual bear could do the same staying off the actual trailbed but moving quickly through the woods

    A few observations from the hike, both Brutus and Black Pond bushwhack had significant leaf drop which made following them a bit more challenging. We encountered a meetup group (Over 40) that had a member with a possible medical issue (the leader asked us to advise the FS staff at the parking lot that there could be an issue) and they had plans to take the Black Pond bushwhack out. We encountered them near the top of the slide while they were ascending and we were heading down. At that time of the day they still had some margin before it got dark. We discussed it and the leaders plan was that if they got delayed they would take the conventional Franconia Brook trail route out. Hopefully things went well for them and I will leave commentary on how they got where they were to others with far more info than we had.

    Another observation was while heading in along Lincoln Woods trail in the AM we encountered an attempt at hanging food right along the trail. I didn't see any tent nearby. Although I might give them an A for trying to hang a food bag, I would give them a D for the execution. The bag was at the height where a adult bear could probably snag it and they used the single rope method, a method that most bears figure out to defeat quickly. This area is no camping for 1/4 mile on either side of the trail so expect in general this was probably an overall "fail"
    Last edited by peakbagger; 10-08-2018 at 10:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Last time I was out there doing a lap around the Owl there was literally 2 dozen packs all just sitting at that junction.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    FORTY people on a Meetup hike in designated wilderness? Did I read that correctly?

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflea View Post
    FORTY people on a Meetup hike in designated wilderness? Did I read that correctly?
    Probably. No one appears to follow that rule. I see huge groups all the time. I had a group of 15-16 teenagers and their "guides" walk in to the tent sites in Dry River near Isolation Trail Jct about 5:30 PM SAT night. Changed the dynamic of the night pretty quick. Ironically that was after I walked for about 30 minutes with a forest ranger who caught up to me on Mt Eisenhower Trail. He turned and went up to Dry River Shelter for the night. Would have been curious to see how he handled this group (he was a new ranger).
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    I read that as a reference to the age of the hikers.

    Last time at 13 Falls doing a basecamp, a Boy Scout troop rolled up while we were out for a day hike. We left as the only people there and returned to 20+ tents and hammocks scattered throughout the tent pads and surrounding woods.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    I read that as a reference to the age of the hikers.
    Yes -- exactly. See here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    “Over Forty” refers to the age of the hikers.

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    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    Aah, thank you. That sounds better!

  9. #9
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    Gee, go away for a few hours and a sub thread starts . Meetup has several groups that actively hike the whites and many others that make occasional trips. One of the more active several years ago was the "The Over 40 group", three others are the "Random Group of hikers" and the "Four Season hikers" and the "Over 50 group". The "Four Season Hiker group" is actually a split off from the "over 40 group". The group we encountered was under the wilderness area maximum group size of 10 for a wilderness area. To date the national forest is not enforcing outfitter guide permits for Meetup groups as they do not seem to meet the definitions of a group and therefore the prohibitions against the use of the Owls Head Path and the Black Pond bushwhack do not apply to them as they would not apply to a "group" of folks from VFTT who got together via an event posting (if VFTT folks were still doing that)

    Anyone who wants to spend a few bucks can create their own meetup group and they become the leader. Some groups succeed, many do not. The leader can elect to make the group's listing of events private others make them public. One of the problems that can occur with public postings is some folks will show up uninvited hoping to get on a trip, other groups prefer not to make their listings public as they do not want outside scrutiny. The Over 40 group had a "colorful" reputation early on and the group leader was not very careful about very large group sizes which I can attest to having attended a few of their events until I figured out that their approach was not to my interest. That was several years ago and their leadership and approach may have changed.

    Note the group names are not necessarily indicative of who attends events. The over 50 group tends to be folks in their 60s and 70's. The Random Group and 4 Seasons hikers tend to be all ages.

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