While only a fraction of any Owl’s Head hike is technical, its length and remoteness often inspire a person to hire a companion/guide. And this comes up a lot more than most people would think. The reason is that a ton of people hike this mountain; it is on the New Hampshire 4000-footers list. We daresay that if this mountain wasn’t on that list, the number of visitors would plummet to near zero. Die hard ‘shwhackers would be the only souls up for the punishment. There are mixed feelings about this hike. With such a long Adirondacks-like access trail, it’s often a spirit-killer for some. But others refer to it as a “long walk in the woods” lending a different perspective. And, honestly, once past that long access trail, the rest of the route is pretty nice. Moreover, if climbing up via the Owl’s Head Path, turning around gifts viewers with a unique look at the east side of Franconia Ridge. Bonus points!
Not everyone chooses to do it in a day. We have led backpacking trips to Owl’s Head several times in the past, this one being no exception. There are challenges such as securing a legal tentsite, one far enough from a “wilderness” trail (must be 200′ in the Pemigewasset Wilderness). But to many it’s worth it, breaking the trip up a bit by doing it in 2-3 days.
That’s the case with this tour led by Redline Guide Phoebe Seltzer. She led a many-time-returning guest and friend to Redline Guiding. In the case of this trip, the team stayed at the Franconia Brook Tentsite, forded the river with reduced-sized packs, and made their attack on the mountain. Doing this allowed for an easier day one thanks to reduced weight. And day two was very short. These two results prompted this method — it took the edge off, so to speak, allowing our guest to remain more comfortable and thus, happier.
Phoebe and our guest both supplied some photos (thanks), some of which we will post here: