Sunday, March 18, 2018

Owl's Head, 3/12/2018

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Owl's Head
Lincoln Woods Trail, Black Pond Trail, Black Pond Bushwhack, Lincoln Brook Trail, Brutus Bushwhack
Elevation gain 2850 feet
Around 16 miles

It was a chilly day when we started the hike, but I felt warmer and warmer as more time passed.  In the morning though, I felt as cold as I would on any regular winter hike; my face was numb until I hiked for a little while and warmed up.  The sun didn't come up for a while, thanks to Daylight Savings Time.  We were excited to begin our long hike to Owl's Head!

Photo by Trish Herr

The bridge:

Beginning the Lincoln Woods Trail...

We could see the moon.

Lincoln Woods was packed out.

When we reached the place to turn off onto Black Pond Trail, the sky was a dark blue color.  The day became lighter and our vision improved.

At this point we no longer needed our headlamps.

Black Pond...

Quick selfies while hiking always end in blurriness!

We kept going along the Black Pond Bushwhack, which had been broken out and packed down by a few groups that had hiked Owls Head over the weekend (thank you, people!).  Mom could see the bootprint of someone who had began his/her hike even earlier than we had that morning.

Sunrise through the trees...

Gorgeous sky colors...

It was significantly lighter now, and we could see everything clearly.  Sage adjusting her pack straps:

Photo by Trish Herr

I mostly led this hike.  There are times when I prefer to go behind, and there are other times when I prefer leading, but on this hike, I was definitely in the mood to lead (I was also moving quickly, which was probably why).  

Photo by Trish Herr

Sage was feeling happy!

Photo by Trish Herr

The Black Pond Bushwhack had some moderate ups and downs, but since I was lost in thought, that section of trail went by very quickly. 

The bushwhack ends at Lincoln Brook Trail, which was somewhat packed out.  We didn't need snowshoes on the way up, but Mom and Sage put them on during this section later in the day as we were hiking out.

We started hiking up the Brutus Bushwhack after finishing the Lincoln Brook Trail section.

After heading up for a little while, we decided to head back since Mom didn't think the bushwhack was going in the right direction.  I wanted to keep hiking up (I thought there would be a turn in the trail later on), but Sage and Mom preferred to head back down; there was a spot of trail we noticed before we started hiking up that split into two different trails, and we were going to try going the other way since this way felt wrong to Mom.

When we got back down though, it turned out we had been going the right way all along (the other tracks stopped after about a minute of hiking that way).  So, we figured the way we originally went must be Brutus Bushwhack, and we hiked up that path for the second time.  Mom felt silly and apologized for making our hike 45 minutes longer than it needed to be.

Sure enough, after a while, the tracked-out bushwhack turned sharply to the left and started heading in the right direction.  When the path turned, it became extremely steep.

Mom had trouble hiking up the Brutus Bushwhack since it was so steep; it was hard on her left leg, which has significant vein damage from two extensive blood clots over the years.  Her leg cramps easily when going up very steep sections (and especially when using snowshoes while going uphill, which is why she won't use them on the way up a peak if she isn't consistently postholing).  We therefore went at a bit of a slower pace so she could stop to rest her leg when needed.

We saw multitudinous rabbit tracks in the snow.

The bushwhack felt like it would never end!

The surroundings were beautiful though, so that was a plus.

Mom and Sage coming up behind me...

When we neared the first summit of Owl's Head, the bushwhack flattened out.

Snow-covered trees...

More animal tracks...

We were happy to be at the real (second) summit of Owl's Head!  Here are the summit pictures:

Photo by Trish Herr

We hiked back to the first summit to get some food and drink before heading down.

This tree was heavily decked in snow.

We enjoyed some well-earned treats when we got back to the first summit.

Mom found this treat at a store close to our house.  It was delicious!

On the way down the Brutus Bushwhack, we met some amazing people!  We met this friendly couple, Robert and Susan Reenan.  Also, we met Ed Hawkins, who was super nice to chat with and gave us some chocolate when he saw us.  It was a wonderful to meet him!  

Mom and Sage put on their snowshoes on Lincoln Brook Trail, but I chose to keep my Microspikes on; I was doing just fine without anything else.

Sage feeling great with her snowshoes!

Photo by Trish Herr

After finishing the Black Pond Bushwhack and arriving at Lincoln Woods Trail, we were all feeling sore from the long day, so the last 2.6 miles felt long (at least for me).  It was exciting to be back at the trailhead!

Photo by Trish Herr

Heading back across the bridge...

We had never hiked the Brutus Bushwhack before, so that was a new experience.  The bushwhack was challenging, but I definitely enjoyed it.  Until next time, Owl's Head!