I recently realized that I only have a dozen of New Hampshire’s forty-eight 4,000 footers left to climb, so naturally, I decided to make finishing those my next hiking goal. I climbed about half of them on my Appalachian Trail thru hike, and the other half when I lived in Bath, NH, a couple of winter ago. One that I had almost gotten that winter, but turned around on, was Mount Osceola, so I decided to climb that first. (Also, Tripoli Road, where the trailhead was located, will be closing soon for winter, making the hike longer.) Chuckles and Spoon and Kyle joined me.
Since it was a relatively short hike for the Whites, we planned a later start. The trailhead was sunny and just above freezing. The Mount Osceola Trail had some snow on it, but at first, the only ice was on rocks at water crossings. More and more ice starting showing up on the trail, but the gaps between were big enough that I didn’t want to stop to put my microspikes on. We bare-booted along until the ice became more prevalent. I was taking so long to get over/around the patches that I finally stopped and put my spikes on, at which point I started moving much more quickly.
We ran into a few families coming down that didn’t have a pair of spikes between them and I could not understand how they had climbed up the mountain. Some of the sheets of ice looked so slick that I was nervous even with my spikes on, especially when the trail had a drop off on the downhill side. I wouldn’t have even shown up at the trailhead without spikes.
Due to the late start, it had already passed lunch time and I was getting very hungry as we neared the top. There were a fair amount of trees down near the top (due to the Halloween wind storm), although it did look like some of them had already been cut to make them a little easier to get around. Before I knew it, we were approaching the summit and I hadn’t taken a single photo even though it was very beautiful out.
Mount Osceola’s summit at 4340′ has wide open ledges with great views. The first thing I did was eat my lunch, but then I strolled around with my camera to take it all in.
We were starting to get a little cold, and we wanted to be down before dark, so we had to head back. I still haven’t hiked the trail between Osceola and East Osceola, with its infamous chimney, but that will have to wait for another time.
I kept my spikes on for most of the way down, although some of the icy spots near the bottom had melted in the time we’d been gone. It was still fairly warm at the trailhead, which is always nice to arrive back to. We headed into Lincoln for some après-hike dinner.
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