This weekend I had planned to hike Willey via Ethan Pond/Willey Range as this week’s Carpool Challenge. With the reopening of the Kanc this week plus an ulterior motive which I’ll explain later, I changed my plan to hike East Osceola. I’ve hiked E. Osceola twice already, once this summer from the Tripoli road side with my son and once in the winter of 2010 from the Kanc side. I’d never been up the Kanc side without snow, so it was time to see what I was missing.
I made the familiar drive up to Lincoln and then east on the Kanc toward the Greeley Ponds parking lot. Along the way I noticed one paving patch on the Kanc and a brand new section of highway, complete with shiny new guardrails, just east of the Otter Rocks parking area and about a mile before the Greeley Ponds parking area. This area is very close the river and looks like it needed extensive work to put it back together. Later I was told that the road crew needed to move the road further away from the river to get the road bed stabilized and reconstructed. I did not go past the Greeley Ponds parking area, so I do not know how much more work was done to make the Kanc passable again.
I headed up the Greeley Ponds trail toward the Mt. Osceola trail and along the way saw some fungus I had never seen before: a purple mushroom. I saw two or three more along the way in separate places during the day. On the way back, I saw the grouping of fungus growing on a tree shown in the second photo.
For the most part, the trail itself looked to be in good shape. That was until I got to the what I remembered as a wider, but easy stream crossing. That stream crossing has seen some damage. A lot of debris and mineral soil came through with the water from the storm and was deposited there. The first portion can be rock-hopped, then you’ll need to skirt around on the sandy soil to cross another water crossing. This second crossing is a little harder to rock hop if you have short legs, then you’ll need to crawl over the blowdowns/debris before crossing more deposits and picking up the trail again. You can not see the trail from either side, it only becomes apparent after crossing the water and debris. If you’re familiar with trails, it isn’t hard to find, just a little odd when you come to a water crossing and can’t immediately make out where the trail is on the other side.
Other than that, the remainder of Greeley Ponds and Mt. Osceola Trails were in pretty good shape, with only a little erosion here and there. Enough to need some attention from the trail crew, but easy enough to hike through/around.
After a quick break for a snack at the Greeley Ponds/Mt. Osceola trail junction, I started up the Mt. Osceola trail. The trail was pretty much as remembered from the winter: it starts off ascending moderately with a few level sections here and there and then becomes very steep. It was very interesting and almost humorous to see all the rocks that I had no idea were on the trail due to the snow cover of the last trip! It was as tough as I remembered, but a good challenge to keep a steady pace and continue upward. I got to the portion that goes up the broken ledges at the top of slide and I’ll have to say it is easier to cross this section now than it was when there was snow on the ground.
After that it was more ascending and then the last little bit up the eroded gully with a bit of a viewing area to the right. I remembered both of those and knew the the trail would be easier with only a little ascending left before the summit. Once up on the ridge, I easily made it up to the summit and took a nice break before heading back taking a little extra time through the steep section.
I had a great hike up to E. Osceola – the weather was sunny yet cool, the trail was a good challenge and I was able to meet all my time goals. Now, I did have an ulterior motive for choosing this particular hike. I needed to be able to have enough time left over to run an important errand in Lincoln. My husband surprised me this week with a hiking trip to Acadia this coming weekend in honor of my 40th birthday next week. Since we had no maps or guides, I knew exactly where to get those and advice: the Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln. Because of the carpool time schedule, I needed to hike near Lincoln and have enough time for the stop, hence the choice of E. Osceola instead of Willey. With the reopening of the Kanc this worked out perfectly: I hiked, got the goods and advice from MW, made a stop at home to get cleaned up and then picked up the kids.
Monday’s hike and *not* a Carpool Challenge, as I have the day off from driving: Pierce on Pierce, the 40th birthday hike. Yes, you guessed it, my maiden name is Pierce. I couldn’t resist the strange play on names.