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 Owls Head Water Levels 
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Leg Burner
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 Owls Head Water Levels
Hi all - I've been on the forum for awhile, but haven't been a frequent poster. I have however found Hike-NH to be a great resource and source of information as I plan my trips, so thank-you very much.

I've done 19 of the NH 4Ks over the past couple years and a group of us have decided its time to check Owls Head off the list. We're planning on Saturday June 29 (if others are interested in joining let me know).

As I'm doing my research on the trip, I had a question on the water levels and what levels would force us to rethink our trip plans. I did a search through the site and found the following link in another discussion thread.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nh/nwis/uv?site_no=01074520

As I'm not too familiar with this data, is this the right information I should be looking at and at what CFS range should we start thinking about different trip suggestions? I've seen some discussion that suggests a reading in the 300-500 CFS range is still rock hoppable. Would you agree?

Obviously with the rainy weather we've had recently, I know I need to keep watching this data closer to the date of the trip; however, I appreciate anyone's feedback.

Thanks


Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:45 pm
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 Re: Owls Head Water Levels
EricS wrote:
As I'm not too familiar with this data, is this the right information I should be looking at and at what CFS range should we start thinking about different trip suggestions? I've seen some discussion that suggests a reading in the 300-500 CFS range is still rock hoppable. Would you agree?


First off, yes that is the gage to look at. It is fed by the streams draining Owl's Head (among others) and correlates very well.

450 is rock-hoppable for the UPPER 3 crossings, but not the lower 2, not even close (there are 5 major crossings, all on Lincoln Brook Trail). This is if you take the trails all the way. If you bushwhack from Black Pond instead (~340magnetic, but it's pretty hard to miss the river if you head Northish), you can avoid the lower 2 and only have the upper 3 to deal with, of which only #3 is tricky but hoppable at 450-500.

That said, this time of year wading the crossings can be done, and can feel good on the feet on a hot day. I've waded the lower two when levels were 450cfs, it was about knee-deep in one or two spots but otherwise not terrible. Have poles to balance yourself with though! And those 2 lower crossings are only about 1/2 mile apart on a mostly smooth trail, so if you bring water shoes of some sort, you can just leave them on between those 2. Wading is not trivial mind you, but it can be done depending on your comfort level.

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:01 pm
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500 cfps via Black Brook should be doable with dry boots. 700 cfps is doable with dry feet. Maybe the boot bottoms get wet. The rocks may move around over time, but if you look around a bit you should be all set.

If you do wade, unbuckle your pack so you can slip out in case you end up trapped/pinned/stuck under water... Actually, do this at any non-trivial crossing.

Tim

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:09 pm
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Thanks for the responses. At this point in time we were planning on sticking to the trails and not bushwacking. If that's the case, what is a safe water level for the lower 2 crossings?


Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:26 pm
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"Safe" may be a subjective term in this case, given varying levels of comfort in water. But when we did it a few summers ago, we took off our boots and waded on the two lower crossings. I think that in a couple places it was knee/lower thigh deep, but at no point did we feel unsafe. It's a very wide, not steep crossing with (I'm guessing) less risk of strong and unexpected currents. There are some rivers that I would not feel as safe wading across - the crossing on North Twin Trail, for one - but I felt perfectly comfortable in these crossings.

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:50 pm
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Agreed with Kelly, when Satchboogie and I were there last Fall it didn't seem or feel at all unsafe.

Semi-related enough that maybe I can semi-hijack this thread -- does anybody have any ideas as to what Rocky Branch to Isolation might be like right now? Or even better, on Monday, in between which it is forecast to be dry? I know it has a very wet reputation, but haven't been there myself and am entertaining the idea of going Monday. I don't mind some mud or even de-booting and wading if necessary. I know a whack is common to dodge a couple crossings, but unless it's quite easy and obvious I'd rather stay on the trail, and will expect to be solo. Of course I know trailsnh.com, but there's nothing recent enough to be helpful right now (perhaps by the Sunday night, of course!). And heck, while I'm looking at the map -- shaking around the idea of a bike spot at Glen Boulder trail for a loop. Any thoughts or insights?


Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:12 pm
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You will have to wade the first two almost any time of year - except in the driest dry spells in the summer - like in the 100-125cfps range. The Black Pond bushwhack is not difficult (coming back it's harder to hit the pond) - and you can come back by the trails so if you get wet, you're closer to the end.

Tim

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:15 pm
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Grindboy - If you go via Glen Boulder, allot some extra time for navigating the blowdowns on Davis Path. I haven't been following trail conditions lately so maybe they have been cleared but it slowed us down a lot in the fall. That said, if it's a clear day I hands down recommend a loop. Glen Boulder Trail, while sure to make your legs burn, is worth the effort.

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:17 pm
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2 weeks ago we did the Black Pond bushwhack on the way in. Decided to go trails all the way on the way out. Anyway, I don't know what the flow was that day but, the third crossing was rock-hoppable. Found a hoppable route 50-100 up stream on the second. The first had to be forded.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:14 am
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Thanks all for your responses...very helpful.

Now let's hope this rain gets out of here for the weekend!


Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:17 am
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