Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012.08.26 East Osceola - A Series of Firsts

There were many firsts on this hike of East Osceola which starts on the Greeley Ponds Trail off the Kancamagus Highway and then turns up, and I mean up, to the summit using the Mount Osceola Trail.  The first 1.4 miles is a walk in the woods with only about 200' of elevation gain.  The last 1.5 miles is up all the way with the steepness reaching a heart pumping grade for about half that distance.  So, what were the firsts on this hike?

First #1 - This was our first 4,000 footer since early July when Sue started having knee and back pain.  The physical therapy appears to have worked as we accomplished today's climb with her having very little pain.

First #2 - Today was my birthday so it was my first 4,000 footer of my 58th year of life!

First #3 - This was the first hike ever where mid-mountain we took a cell phone call (hard to believe we even had a signal) during which our eldest son Addison told us he had asked his girlfriend to marry him!  Very cool!  We are very pleased as his fiancee Isabeau, is a wonderful girl and we welcome her to our family with open arms.

First #4 - This was the first time that we finished a hike and found this:

 Hmm...  The back window of my car is open and I am not the one who opened it.

Now I see...  Some JERK took the lovely rock you see in this photo and tossed it through the window so they could get to my wife's purse.  The got nothing but a nice Coach bag and clutch, about $40 in cash and $100 worth of NH State Liquor store rebate cards (we must drink a lot??).  Sure, they got several credit cards and other things but within minutes of our having returned to the car we called and cancelled all of those so they are useless.  If you look closely on the near side seat, they left an iPad.  Why did they not take that also?  It is not the value of the things they took that matters.  Instead it is the time to close accounts and open new ones, get new checkbooks, new driver's license, replace eyeglasses and more that is so painful.  And of course, the way insurance works the damage to the car is on one policy and the pocket book is covered by another so we get whacked for two deductibles, nice! 

We stopped by the Lincoln, NH police department on the way home to report the incident and they could not have been more pleasant.  They seemed truly frustrated because this is apparently a very frequent occurrence and the Greeley Ponds Trail head is one that is hit often.  So hikers beware.

As always, it is mandatory that we take a trail head photo.

An eerie site with the sun reflecting off the early morning fog.

The vegetation shot of the week is this almost perfectly white mushroom.  Sue called it an albino mushroom.

We have reached the intersection between the Greeley Ponds Trail and the Mount Osceola Trail.  We've finished the easy part.  Now the climb begins.  Some friends of ours did this hike last winter.  Really?  I had trouble doing some of the steeper sections in August so I cannot imagine what it was like in mid-winter.

Not being familiar with this hike I thought that this might be where we were headed but not so.  I have no idea what the name of this ridge was.

An interesting rock formation jutting out from the ground.

Our first views from an open but steep ledgy area.

A view from a lookout at the col.

From that same lookout this picture is of Osceola (highest peak on the upper left).  Most everyone we spoke to today expected to cross East Osceola (our final destination) and continue on to Osceola.  We had done Osceola in 2011 using the Webster-Jackson trail.

Not a great photo but the summit you see is where we are headed.

A nice couple took this photo for us at the summit of East Osceola.  The summit is wooded and all that makes it recognizable is this cairn.

A bit of a gully we needed to maneuver.

The roots of this tree provided some handholds.

Are you serious.  The trees are beginning to turn and it is only August 26. 

There were several different sections of bridges crossing bogs.  35 sections in all. Yes, we did count them.  I guess we must have been board (no pun intended).  On the way up I noticed that we had crossed a lot of small brooks so, on the way down I counted those also.  21 to be exact, though that included 5 or 6 which were currently dry but which clearly would flow had it not been so dry in recent weeks.

Great hike, great day except for the return to the parking area.


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