This week’s Carpool Challenge was East Osceola. I hadn’t been there since March of this year, so it was time to refresh my memory of the trip up the Mt. Osceola Trail from the Greeley Ponds Trail. Although I’ve been on this route several times, sufficient time has gone by between trips to forget that while short, the ascent can be rough and steep in places.
The first part of the hike, on the Greeley Ponds Trail is relatively easy with a nice gentle grade and a few stream crossings and only a few really rooty areas. The weather was clear, but cool, with a breeze; this would be good for the steep sections ahead on the Mt. Osceola Trail that would most certainly keep me warm as I labored up them.
After turning onto the Mt. Osceola Trail, the trail starts off relatively easy, but the grade and the footing get more intense as altitude is gained. Pretty soon I was looking around and remembering certain sections of last winter’s trek and recognized some of the not so nice sections that were hard to climb up, but fun to slide down. With no snow, I’d actually have to walk down all the steep stuff on this hike. Soon the small bit of old, open slide came into view and I knew I was pretty close to the top. After crossing that, it wasn’t too much longer and up I went through the eroded rock section. Once at the top, it was time to add a jacket, hat and gloves for the ridge walk, as the wind was stronger and colder. There was a little bit of a flat section on the ridge and one more small climb before the summit. Then, all of the sudden, there it was, the summit carin, looking about the same as it had on previous trips. After a quick photo, it was time to turn around and head down.
On the way down, I took the opportunity to explore a few outlooks. They had some nice views, but I still had to peer out around and between trees to make out the mountains in the distance. One of the good ones at the top of the eroded section, is a little herd path headed the opposite way of the trail, with several nice viewing points. The best views, however, came from the small, open slide. I could see down to Greeley Ponds and out to Carrigain and the Hancocks, with the Arrow Slide on North Hancock easy to spot. Beyond and screened by Carrigain, was the white of the snow capped Presidentials, gleaming in the sun.
It was on the slide that I saw the first hiker of the day. After that I would see several more people and trail dogs, either headed up to the Osceolas or to the Greeley Ponds. Once back on easier trail, I headed quickly back to the car. It was a great morning out, with crisp, cool air, lots of sunshine and a reminder that the hike up still packs quite a bit of elevation gain into a short amount of trail!