Saturday, October 6, 2012

Osceolas 10/5/12

With much sloth, and little energy, I woke at 3:30, gathered my already prepared things, and rolled out the door. Today I was to meet up with Jes and her friend Bob/Bobby/Robert (he was called all these things throughout the day). I was told 6am, so I made my way along the familiar roads and arrived about 15 minutes early, I think I'm obsessive compulsive about being on time. Either way, there's no cell reception at the Greeley Ponds trailhead, so I waited, and waited... and waited. It got light out, and just as I was telling myself that I would start at 7:30 if no one showed up, they pulled in. They had been running late, and I had no way of knowing... not a huge deal, I chilled out and listened to some tunes, centered my chi, and what have you. We ended up starting at about 7:15, with a chill in the air, and some light clouds drifting overhead.

The jaunt up Greeley Ponds took about 40 minutes, with beautiful fall colors, lots of water, and lots and lots of mud. To be expected after such a prolonged wet stretch. We made the turn, and started up towards East Osceola. The first half mile or so wasn't bad, moderately steep in spots, and the footing wasn't terrible. The steeps then came upon us! Everything was wet, making for tricky footing in spots, but we clambered our way ever higher, eventually reaching some views from an old slide down into Mad River Notch and across to Mt. Kancamagus.

Hancocks and Carrigain

Cliffs in Mad River Notch
Above the slide, the steepness continued, until we reached a small knob. The trail turned left, but herd paths led out to some spectacular views up the Osceola Ridge to Scar Ridge, down into the valley where Lincoln sat under clouds, and over to the Franconia Ridge.

East Osceola


Lincoln and the Franconia Ridge

Scar Ridge
From our viewpoint, East Osceola was a breeze, and we arrived at the fantastic 360 degree tree views from its summit. This was Bob's first North American 4000-footer, and Jes's 14th! We didn't linger long, and made our way down into the col to begin the climb of Osceola proper. The chimney was wet, but manageable, and a whole lot of fun! We ran into several groups that had come up from Tripoli Road, and wished them well. Some views presented themselves on the way across, and before long, we were at the summit, enjoying the sunshine and hazy views.

Passaconaway and the Tripyramids


The Chimney

Waterville Valley and Tecumseh


Hancocks and Carrigain from Osceola

East Osceola from Osceola
The descent proved uneventful, we ran into the same groups coming back from East Osceola, and then picked our way down the steeps. After some slips, and trepidation, we finally came to the more moderate sections of trail, and from that point on, made good time. Mud and slick rocks were the rule of the day. There were a ton of cars in the lot by the time we returned, and by a ton, I mean there were at least 7 other cars in the lot including our own. It's a small lot too! There were several Asian men standing down by the road, with traffic going by really, really slowly. I didn't think anything of it until I pulled out. It looks to me that they tried to just pull out of the lot, not realizing there was an embankment and a drop off into a culvert. Needless to say, they ended up with one wheel on the road, and three in the air... talent!

My drive home sucked! I should have turned left, and gone up and around, but no, I'm an idiot and tried to go back through Fryeburg... at the height of the fair. So after an excruciating drive along the Kanc, dealing with leaf peepers and the great unwashed masses, I found myself stuck in a line of traffic going through Conway. Apparently, this was all caused by school getting out, and both lights in town flashing. Getting through that, I thought it was going to be smooth sailing. My hopes were dashed when a mile from the Maine border on 302, I encountered stopped traffic. I was stuck here for quite some time (also, traffic blows when you have a manual transmission), but in my frustration, I took a right on a likely road, and it put me out exactly where I wanted to be, south of Fryeburg on 113. Now I know how to avoid Fryeburg!

Thanks to Jes and Bob for a great day out, and congratulations on #14 and 15 for Jes and #1 and 2 for Bob!

Here's a link to Jes's blog, so you can follow along with her quest for the 48: LINK

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