Ascent of Owls Head Mountain on 2015-06-07

Climber: Alan Bangel

Others in Party:alone
Date:Sunday, June 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Owls Head Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:2812 ft / 857 m

Ascent Trip Report

Sunday June 7th,
Not a bad night sleep, I got up around 6:45 and put on my jacket. Started by folding up the tent-back and storing it in the car, and headed over to the bathrooms. Figured the walk would loosen me up enough to start this day. Broke camp, and headed into town to locate a place for breakfast. I wasnÌt hungry but the thought of a six plus mile hike without some food to start might not be in my best interest. What else did I have to do but think.
Looking for a place that was busy, indicating that the locals thought it was good food, I found one quickly and headed in. Town was very quiet, but there were several cars and about eight motorcycles at this place, so I was pleased. Inside it was noisy and the counter was empty so I avoided the tables and took a seat. Ordered without the menu and the food was quick to arrive. Now the reason for the detail, as I begin to eat I begin to experience a growing pain in my back. The stool was not the way to start the day. The food done I got to my feet and decided I needed to stand to finish my coffee. By that point I could barely move. Finished my coffee in several gulps, and headed outside, This problem was not going to go away.
I headed south on Route 28 towards Long Lake thinking that I was going to have to cancel this hike. I stopped just outside of Tupper to take a short walk and see if things would loosen. Water was near so I took out the fishing gear, and figured if I could get my mind off the problem I might be able to salvage the second day. It was breezy but I made some casts on either side of the road. No fish but I was feeling a little better for having done so. After close to 1/2 hour I got back in the car and continued South. I stopped three or four more times in the 20 mile journey to walk a bit and to fish. Stopped at the Lumberjack Spring, which now had a warning posted about treating all water, and read the Kiosk at Goodman Mountain. Goodman was one of the three young civil rights activists that were killed in Alabama by the KKK, which started the first prosecutions of whites for mistreating blacks.
Finding the Trailhead for Owls Head I figured I needed to be real careful but I had enough mobility to start the hike. The GPS struggled for a fix but by 10:22
at 1673' +/-49' I was ready to go. The first 1.2 miles of this trail was to be pretty level so I figured it would be a good test before doing the climb. I had walking poles on my pack should I need assistance getting back to the car. The thought of the drive home was another matter entirely, but not worth considering at this point.
On this hike I met several people, a young couple that were doing the fire tower challenge and this was their number five. Hiked both up and down fairly close to me and we talked several times when our paths crossed. Two older women coming down, both using walking poles, Two middle aged couples (forties) going up, while I was descending, and then a lone hiker starting in just as I was close to the end of the trail.
There was one other couple, I'd say mid 50's, that I met just near the area where the climb begins. I figured them for military people because after a brief conversation he told me to "carry on" as I determined it was time to part company. He appeared as though he wanted to talk more but couldn't think of what to say, maybe he was winded. She wanted to know how far it was and I wouldn't tell her, but I did indicate that the "Starbucks" was open at the top, so she had incentive to continue.
I reached the summit at 12:15, 2.96miles, elevation 2795 +/- 20. Realized I had forgotten my cell phone, since I had tried to use it the night before at the campground. (didnÌt return it to my pack) I took some pictures and at 12:38 started to leave. ItÌs hard sometimes to pull yourself away after struggling to get to the top. I didnÌt want to linger because I wanted to take my time returning, due to my back. It was a beautiful day and resting for some time would have been the ticket. After negotiating the worst of the decent at the summit where I needed my hands free, I stopped at the location of the observerÌs cabin and got the walking poles out so I could use them the rest of the way back. At 2:23 I was back at the car.
1663' +/- 16', 5.87 miles, (1522' to 2799'). This trail had some ups and downs though I canÌt imagine it really dropped to 1522'. IÌm figuring an extra 150 to 200Ì for overall elevation since the trail rose sharply ant the beginning and then dropped many times during its meandering through the wood.
On the way home from Long Lake I stopped several times again to walk short distances and to fish. At the Rackette River entering Racquette Lake, along Route 28, I caught a nice 10-11Ó Smallmouth Bass, another great area for kayaks and fishing. Campgrounds nearby also, IÌll be talking to Joe about heading back here later this summer.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1299 ft / 395 m
    Total Elevation Loss:150 ft / 45 m
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Bivouac
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
60's great hiking weather
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1299 ft / 395 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1149 ft / 351 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Route:Common trail - Fire Tower #22
    Start Trailhead:Parking area Endion Road  1663 ft / 506 m
Descent Statistics

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