Hiking to Owls Head Fire Tower • Weekend in the Western Adirondacks, Part 3 • April 24, 2017
On the last day of our short getaway, we faced a difficult decision: how many hikes could we fit into our day? We really wanted to do 2, but the peaks we planned to hike would be a total of 10 miles — which is doable in a day, but we also would have had to drive at least 5 hours. We talked about our options while comparing our blistered feet, and decided it was probably best to just do one. We went with a fire tower peak that was on our way, but still at least 3 hours away from home: Owls Head Mountain, near Long Lake, NY.
We made it to the empty trailhead at 8:30, signed the register, and began our trek. Owls Head is just over 6 miles round trip, but the first half of the trail is basically flat and follows a creek. After about a mile and a half, the trail begins to gradually gain elevation, and becomes rather steep after 2 miles. Because the trees were still bare, we were able to see where we were headed in the distance — and it was rather intimidating, knowing we were going to gain all this elevation in just a mile! This part of the trail was also the most flooded, so Curtis enjoyed doing his part in clearing away sticks, leaves, and small fallen trees to improve the situation. At about the 2.5 mile point, we reached a saddle between two peaks and saw our actual destination for the first time.
After a quick muddy downhill section of trail, we passed the foundation of the old Observer’s Cabin and were on the final stretch to the peak. This involved some minor rock climbing and careful maneuvering to avoid the small patches of snow and ice remaining in the shade, but after this final push we arrived at the peak.
At the top, we were thrilled to discover that we could actually sit and enjoy the view without feeling cold — what a concept! It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and the peak offers a fantastic view to the Southeast of Blue Mountain. We took turns climbing the tower, found a letterbox, and took off our jackets to enjoy the sunshine. As an added bonus, there weren’t any gnats or flies out yet, which I remember being a nuisance when we first moved here. We were all alone in a beautiful area on a quiet Monday morning. What could be better?! Well — maybe if we had thought to bring some of our donuts from Tim Hortons with us, haha! It’s been so long since we have actually enjoyed being at a peak, we forgot all about bringing a lunch to enjoy. Still, we stayed and made the most of the day. Because of the memories we made on this day where the circumstances were just right, this hike will stand out to me as one of my favorites in the Adirondacks!
We finally said goodbye to our new favorite peak and made our way back down the mountain. We didn’t see a single person until the last mile of our hike, and once back at the car we rewarded ourselves with donuts…many donuts. This little getaway was short and sweet, but exactly what we needed to push on through the end of Curtis’ training. (If there is an end…does it ever end?)
Oh, and in case I made this day sound too perfect… I actually ended up getting my first case of poison ivy for this year. What?! I don’t remember even seeing any green anywhere, besides the pine trees at the top! I’m going to have to blame Charlotte for that one. Ugh, I miss winter SO much. 😉