Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Friday, July 15, 2016

Osceolas From Tripoli Road

Unable to hike this weekend I decided to take the day off and hike the Osceolas. I had been closely watching the changing weather forecast all week. With hazy, hot and humid conditions and a possibility of rain I wanted to get an early start. My hiking route today would take me up the Mount Osceola Trail to Mount Osceola (4,340') then over to East Osceola (4,156') and return on the same trail.

There were lots of clouds on my drive to the trailhead but it appeared to be slowly clearing. The high summits were all in a heavy cloud cover. As I drove further south the clearing continued. I reached the trailhead parking and there was only one other vehicle but soon several other cars pulled in before I got on the trail. I got a quick shot of a woodpecker in a tree above my car before hitting the trail.

Although it was cool the air was humid and heavy as I began the ascent on the Mount Osceola Trail. The trail was wet from last night's rain so I took some extra caution with my footing as I passed over rocks and ledges. As I got closer to the summit the mist from clouds passed through the forest. There was a cooling breeze that was refreshing and the cloud cover provided relief from a hot sun. I met two hikers coming down and they said there were no views at the summit. Sometimes it pays to get a later start. I was hoping the clouds would clear at some point during my hike and maybe I would get views on my return trip.

I reached the summit of Mount Osceola and sure enough there were no views but I did have the place to myself. I didn't stop long and continued on to East Osceola. As I dropped down into the col I saw the first views of clouds lifting and clearing. It appeared that I might get my views on the return trip afterall. When I got to the chimney I decided to take the bypass around. I didn't want to stop and stow everything inside my pack and would do that on the way back.

It was a quick ascent to the summit and I had it to myself for a few moments. This is a viewless summit so I didn't stay long and soon began my return trip. When I reached the chimney, a vertical climb, I stowed the trekking poles on my pack and put the camera inside. There was some water coming down over the ledge from the recent rain but it was not a difficult climb. The clouds continued to lift and it was clearing up nicely.

The views were waiting for me when I returned to the summit of Mount Osceola. While there was still lots of clouds there was also plenty of sunshine. I did not have the summit to myself this time and there were many hikers coming and going and several relaxing on the ledge. I spent some time taking photos and having a snack. There was a nice breeze blowing and it was a much more tolerable day than what I was expecting.

It was a warm descent and the trail was still slippery along the way. There were many hikers coming up and with the sun now beating down and increasing temperatures it had to be a hot ascent. I was glad I got an early start. I am not a fan of hazy, hot and humid but the weather was better than expected and it was tolerable and pleasant. This was my first time hiking the Osceolas from this direction and I found it to be very enjoyable with an easy and gradual climb. I plan on doing this one again!

Enjoy the pics!

 Greeted by this Downy woodpecker high in a tree above my vehicle in the parking lot

 The hike begins here

Wet ledge

Heading up into the mist

Wet ledge and mist

 Glacial pothole reflection

 Very wet section of trail

Almost to the summit

 No views on the summit of Mount Osceola

 Prayer flags on Mount Osceola

 At the summit

 Clouds begin to lift

 On the way to East Osceola 

 Looking down the chimney

 Going down the bypass around the chimney

 Looking back up at the bypass

Views to the south opening up

East Osceola summit cairn

East Osceola summit marker

On the summit cairn

Mount Osceola summit almost in the clear

Going straight up the chimney

 Tripyramids in the distance

A view from the Mount Osceola summit

Looking down from the Mount Osceola cliff

A view to the north

Waterville Valley ski trails

East Osceola

A view to the south

Tripyramids in the distance

Standing on the summit of Mount Osceola

East Osceola

Prayer flags against a backdrop of mountains

Heading back down the trail

Clearing up nicely

Ski trails at Waterville Valley

Forest reflection in a brook

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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