Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18 – Owl’s Head Trail

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It was another beautiful sunny day not to be wasted on anything indoors, so off we went to enjoy the outdoors . Another blogger had mentioned Owl’s Head Trail in Groton National Forest. I looked up the description and it was marked easy but long enough to be a bit of a challenge.  We need to work our way up as we get back in hiking shape.

Another nice drive through the Vermont countryside.

We had a heck of a time finding the trailhead. I don’t know if it is just that the parks aren’t open yet or that the signage is too discreet for non-locals. Thankfully I had downloaded a pdf of the park trail map. In the right place there was what looked like just a wide walking path off the highway but it was really a single lane dirt road that eventually led to the signed trailhead. 

The trail goes to the top of Owls Head “mountain”; bumps compared to what we hiked in Oregon. In the summer you can drive up but the road is closed now so the choice is to walk up the road or walk up the longer trail. We chose the trail. It turned out to be 6.5 km out and back with an elevation gain of only 150 meters. Only the last little bit was at all steep.

Most of the trail was actually quite boring. Just a walk in the trees. We had to hope the view at the end was worth it.


On the boring trails we amuse ourselves by trying to find interesting object or flowers, like this Painted Trillium.


This fern had grown through a hole in the dead leaf and the lifted it off the ground.


and this gorgeous Purple Trillium




There was this weird little rock ledge part way along the trail.


I just barely fit through the obstacle on the trail.

Long ago (1935) they had built rock stairs up the last steep pitch as a make work project during the depression.


This rock hut at the top was built at the same time.



Another family had walked up the road and offered to take our picture, looking west.


Looking east.

Exploring around a bit.


A nice view for a lunch spot but the bug were terrible. In the forest we didn’t notice any but out in the open at the top we were swarmed. Out came the bug net but it was too late and Jennie got a lot of bites.


Heading back down.


The little red car at the end of the tunnel.


Prior to our trip I had wanted a GPS to bring with us when we hiked. I bought a Nexus 7 Android tablet and the app Backcountry Navigator. It is small enough to fit in the backpack but large enough for my old eyes.

It allows you to download topo maps onto the tablet so you don’t need a data connection out in the boonies to see where you are. We checked it a few times to see how far we had to go and how close we were to getting back. It will record your path, which you can them export into Google Earth. Geeky but I like it.

Owls Head

The road continued on to a picnic area at Osmore Pond so we checked it out. We were in luck, working FLUSH toilets.


I guess I disturbed this heron.


On the way back we noticed that we were passing close to the Cabot Creamery factory. They make many varieties of cheddar cheese. We pigged out on the free samples but we already had enough cheese at home. We did buy a pint of ice cream as our hiking reward and to cool off.


Our final stop on the way home was the Hope Cemetery in Barre, where there are some large examples of the Rock of Ages work.


This one was at least 10 feet tall.




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