I got an early start for the trail. Using https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-hampshire/mount-tecumseh-trail to get me to the trailhead parking.
A 5.2 mile out and back with 2,283 feet of elevation gain. This is a great beginner hike for those looking to start their NH48 list. The trail maintenance was also highly notable from the start.
You immediately enter the woods to cross a stream. You follow along this stream as you gradually climb in elevation. You cross the stream one final time and start to ascend a variety of rock staircases.
You descend slightly to cross another stream in a ravine and the rest is literally all up from here. But the trail has rocky switchbacks. You walk pretty close to the ski slope and can see it from the trail. I passed a porcupine early in the morning.
The key to hiking in the Whites is not to underestimate the mileage. It usually means for longer or sometimes steeper trails but with no scrambles this trail is more forgiving than the rest.
Reward with a view, the way down was much easier and faster.
I thought it would be a good idea to hit Owl’s head later in the day after working. Owl’s head is the longest out and back of all the NH48. It is not a fan favorite due to it’s longer mileage. 17. 2 miles with 2,992 feet elevation gain.
Most if not all of the elevation is gained within the last mile to the summit. It makes for a grueling climb but a relatively flat walk.
John and Declan, the employee at the Notch, suggested I take a Bushwack to save two miles total. I had not previously done any bushwacks solo before. Declan said, “you have to be comfortable with being “lost” in the woods.” He and another hiker did not take the bushwhack a few weeks ago, which not only added mileage but made you cross a deep (at the time) water crossing from spring snow melt. I was not really sold on the idea, but I decided to go for it anyway to save the mileage. The had me download Gaia GPS App to help me navigate.
I parked at the Lincoln Woods Trailhead parking. The trail begins on a very flat, old railroad bed. It quickly walked the 2.6 miles to the Black Pond Trail.
I walked the Blackpond trail until there was no more trail to walk. It ended at a boggy section and I had already begin to lose the trail. I found what I thought was the trail and took off in the woods. I quickly lost it and pulled out my phone to use Gaia. I was no longer on the trail but parallel with it, so I decided to keep walking through the woods. Although this was not saving me anytime because I was so off trail, it did save me some mileage. I eventually met back up with the trail and it was pretty obvious to follow. It spit me out right near a campsite (just like the guys said) and along the river. The trail followed along the rushing water for most of the way.
I passed a few groups of people and some of them asked if I was attempting to go up Owl’s head tonight and had hoped I had my headlamp with me. I planned to be out before dark. My ETA was 8PM.
I anticipated being the last one up the mountain. I passed a fellow hiker, Neal, that I had met two days ago. I still had about 3-4 miles left and kept pushing on.
I stumbled to the base of Owl’s head slide. I saw backpack sitting there and considered dropping my pack but I wanted my water and snacks for the summit. I started to climb, very slow up the slide. It was difficult to decide which was the best way to tackle this slide… but I don’t think there really was a better route. It was a choose your own adventure. Another hiker was flying up the trail behind me. I stepped to the side and said, ” I’ll let you go, so you can show me how it’s done.” He quickly disappeared from view. I wished he was a bit slower, so I could observe the path he choose. My legs were tired and fighting me after already climbing one mountain today.
After climbing the rock slide, you re-entered the woods but the climb wasn’t done yet. I knew I was getting close because neither hiker had passed me. I neared the rocky summit and saw the other hiker sitting for a break. I tagged the cairn and immediately plopped down to take a snack break. I started to chat with the other hiker, Dan, a New Hampshire Native, who only had two more summits to tag Isolation and Eisenhower to finish his list. I asked him if he had taken the bushwhack. He wasn’t even aware of it and I offered to show it him if we walked back together. I seem to always find myself asking if other hikers will join me. Selfishly, I knew it would make the miles on the way back fly by. He seemed like a nice enough guy, and I was surprised he said yes.
We took the Brutus bushwhack down the slide and walked the rest of the way back to the cars, chatting the whole way. We made it back a little after 8PM. We made plans to hike Isolation together about a week later.
Hiking two peaks in one day wasn’t impossible. It helped to have a mid-day break. Honestly, it would have been dealt march to the car on the way back if I hadn’t met Dan. I graciously told him, I was thankful our paths had crossed.