For probably the last time this season, I headed up to Tripoli Road and to the Mt. Osceola trailhead for a quick hike up to Osceola. The weather will soon change and some time during November, Tripoli Road will be closed until Spring. I hiked Osceola and East Osceola from this same trailhead this summer with my son, but today was just a solo hike with not quite enough time to hike over to E. Osceola and have the chance to get home, cleaned up and not smell like a moose when I picked up my own children and two others.
The ride down Tripoli Road was certainly late fall in view. I was the only one at the trailhead when I arrived and the woods were quiet as I started up the trail. There were plenty of leaves on the trail and forest seemed to be in the process of quieting down for a long winter nap.
Although the Mt. Osceola trail is rocky in the first portion, the grade is moderate and consistent, leading eventually to better footing in the switchback section. With only a little over 2,000 foot in elevation gain in a little over three miles to the summit, it is not a knee busting hike on either the ascent or descent.
As I ascended, I noticed that this hike was not nearly as steep as some of the others I’ve hiked recently and really enjoyed just cruising along. Soon enough, I came to the summit and explored a few little herd paths, once of which led to a nice outlook that looked out west and north where I could see portions of I-93 in the valley.
The weather was colder and winder at the top, and it was one of those days where you’re right in between a big grey cloud above you and the sunshine-filled valleys below you. The sun was just breaking through the clouds over Waterville Valley and I could see beams of sunlight streaming down into the valley from above.
After a quick snack and some photos, I was ready to descend. I met 5 or 6 people along my descent, and enjoyed the dramatic change from the mostly coniferous higher elevations, down through to the mixed forest, with plenty of late fall color on the trees and on the trail. It was a great day to be out and enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons, and yes, I was able to pick up the children on time!