A Few Winter Previews: Osceola and Tom

While we haven’t had much snow at my house, I have been getting my Winter Wonderland fix on my weekly Carpool Challenge hikes.  Last week I went to Mt. Osceola since Tripoli Rd. was still open and this week I went to Mt. Tom.

Mt. Osceola

I was pleased to see that Tripoli Rd. was open, so I ventured down it, happy to see a couple of sets of tire tracks in the 2-3″ of snow on the road.  The further I drove, the fewer the tracks.  I passed the last truck parked on the side of the road, and then there were no more tracks.  Just me.  The temperature reading from the car was 10 degrees when I pulled into the lot for the Mt. Osceola trail.  Yes, I think I’ve found winter.  Although cold, the morning was full of sunshine, so after suiting up appropriately, I headed up the trail.  I enjoyed the fresh, new snow, with the only tracks being those from little woodland critters.  I never saw any tracks from big woodland critters and that suited me just fine.  I actually hadn’t been to Osceola from this side since last fall, so it was nice to visit a trail I hadn’t been to in a while.  The trail is nicely graded and never really steep, so it was nice hiking and just beautiful with all the snow on the trees.  There was plenty of ice under the  new snow, but with some care, I was able to bareboot all the way to the summit ledges.  What a beautiful view I had!  The Presidentials were robed in snow, and I could easily see all sorts of landmarks and other mountains.  After a nice little break, I was ready to head down.  I put on the microspikes for a little extra traction, knowing that plenty of ice was lurking underneath that pretty layer of snow.  I quickly made my way down, and about a half mile from the summit saw another solo hiker, the only person I would see all day.  A perfect pre-winter hike!

On the summit ledges of Mt. Osceola, looking toward the path to East Osceola.

On the summit ledges of Mt. Osceola, looking toward the path to East Osceola.

Looking over to Mt. Tecumseh, I could see that Waterville Valley Ski Area was making snow!

Looking over to Mt. Tecumseh, I could see that Waterville Valley Ski Area was making snow!

Looking out across the valley to North Tripyramid and its large slide.

Looking out across the valley to North Tripyramid and its large slide.

A view to the snow capped Presidentials from Mt. Osceola.

A view to the snow capped Presidentials from Mt. Osceola.

Mt. Tom

Yesterday, I hiked up Mt. Tom.  It was lightly snowing in Crawford Notch when I arrived, so I didn’t have much hope for views.  Views are always nice, but not the entire reason I hike.  I’ve had quite a busy week and getting away for a day and spending some time out in the woods was just what I needed.  With still no snow at home, I was also hoping to enjoy some snow.  I wasn’t the first one up the Avalon Trail, but I was the first up the A-Z Trail.   I enjoyed the solitude of hiking up through the woods in the light snow, even though I could only see the neighboring ridge occasionally as the clouds blew past it.  I had a little more sunshine as I hiked up and the snow sparkled where the sun hit it.  After a quick break, I was off down the Mt. Tom Spur.  This portion of the trail was the iciest, and in some places, there wasn’t even enough snow to disguise the ice underneath.  I barebooted to the summit, but once again, decided traction would be a good idea on the way down.  After a quick peek through trees at the clouds and no views, I headed back across the spur trail.   By the time I was headed back down the A-Z Trail, all the clouds had lifted, and I was able to get some great views of Mt. Washington through the trees.   Working my way down the trail, I came to the junction with the Avalon trail and chatted with another hiker for a few minutes.  He had been in the area since Monday, but had seen no views.  I told him to turn around and look at Washington.  The look on his face was priceless – he didn’t realize it had cleared off.  His plan was to go up to the summit of Avalon, and I told him if the weather held he’d have fantastic views.  We parted ways and down I went, enjoying the sunshine and having had a great morning.

Snowy, wintry trail almost at the summit of Mt. Tom.

Snowy, wintry trail almost at the summit of Mt. Tom.

The summit of Tom, once again.

The summit of Tom, with a good dusting of snow.

Not quite a view out to the Pemi Wilderness.  The clouds lifted shortly after I left the summit!

Not quite a view out to the Pemi Wilderness. The clouds lifted shortly after I left the summit!

IMG_0332

View of the Presidentials from Rt. 302 on the way home. I was able to enjoy a few views through the trees on my descent of Tom, and was able to continue to enjoy them on my drive home.

While it is not officially winter yet, nor do we the snow at home that usually accompanies it, I was thankful for a little taste of winter and the beauty the new season will bring.

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One thought on “A Few Winter Previews: Osceola and Tom

  1. Hi Summerset!

    Your two hikes to two 4K peaks are very well described and photographed. As indicated previously, you truly do a splendid job of documenting your adventures. Your reports are consistently a pleasure to read.

    Also, I want to repeat something that I said on my Blog when responding to a comment you posted there. I’m in complete agreement with you about hiking isn’t entirely about the views, but rather is more about just simply being out and enjoying the woods. Also, I agree that there are many times when the views travelling to/from the hike are equally as good (and sometimes better) than those experienced during the actual hike. But, that is not to say that makes one better or worse than the other. It simply means that a day devoted to hiking can be (and should be) as much about the journey, as it is about the destination itself.

    John

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