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Thread: Owls Head higher summit

  1. #16
    Senior Member IQuest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikes with Hannah View Post
    I was just there this past weekend - the cairn is good-sized and definitely bigger than when I was up there in April. Someone also carved "O.H. TOP" into a birch tree at face level on the right just before entering the small summit clearing.
    That's irritating. What do you think the odds are that the person doing the carving will ever go back to Owl's Head?
    Ian

  2. #17
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IQuest View Post
    That's irritating. What do you think the odds are that the person doing the carving will ever go back to Owl's Head?
    There's a long history of Owlshead summit signs being removed by the FS (non-official trail, no signs). I suspect the carving was done in response to this by someone who does go up there at least semi-regularly. Not that I approve, but it's important to understand the context.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  3. #18
    Member Hikes with Hannah's Avatar
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    It seems like a pretty superficial carving so hopefully once a layer or two of birch bark is shed it shouldn't really be visible anymore ...
    Trail adopter: Webster Cliff Trail from junction with Webster branch of WJT to Mt. Jackson

  4. #19
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    On my recent hike up Owl's Head in June, I GPSed the summit cairn at N 44 08.6619 W 71 36.2942.

    Here's a picture of the summit cairn with the unusual birch tree I believe Tim is referring to beyond it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I wandered off further north and found the mountain to clearly be sloping downhill, which I also confirmed by my wrist altimeter, and this also agreed with my map. I did find a broken microspike in my explorations (which I carried out) and it's clear a lot of other people have wandered around north of the cairn. I would encourage the Forest Service to leave the cairn intact since it would probably be better for maintaining the wilderness. It seems to me that destroying it would just encourage renewed searching around the summit area and add to the maze of herd paths.

    Jay Baxter

    janeandjay@comcast.net

  5. #20
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Those numbers match exactly with the end of the three GPS tracklogs I have from trips I've made.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I am planning on making the trek out to Owl's Head in August so the summit information and photo are very helpful. Thanks. I hope the FS can just ignore the cairn and leave it be. It's just a pile of rocks that were already there. What's the big deal? On the other hand, "someone" is probably too nice a name for a person who carves anything into a tree anywhere, let alone on a wilderness summit.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  7. #22
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Some find a cairn just as much of an affront to Wilderness as initials on a tree.

    That said, it appears the FS is leaving cairns alone on Owl's Head at this time. May not be as kind to signs.

    Tim

  8. #23
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Some find a cairn just as much of an affront to Wilderness as initials on a tree.

    Tim
    I understand and respect that position but offer this rebuttal. A cairn is an ephemeral construct of native material, easily dis-assembled and scattered. Carving something on a tree is destructive and harmful, creating a long lasting if not permanent scar. I guess one's tolerance of cairns depends on how "wild" you want your "wilderness" to be. The Pemi is of course a re-created "wilderness" having been extensively logged.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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