Monday, June 8, 2009

Osceola Again

Repeating #2 Mt Osceola
June 7, 2009

Dad and I were staying up in Waterville a day longer and we had to decide on a second day of hiking. I suggested Osceola because last year when we went up you could only see 10 feet in front of you. I heard the view was good and I wanted to see it myself. Plus if we had to turn around for some reason we were still in the valley and it wouldn’t be a big deal because we have done it before.

We waited until noon to head out. We wanted to see everyone off who was headed home. The only problem was that the Weather Channel was forecasting a chance of rain for 2:00pm. Now I was a little tired and sore from the day before. I had a blister on my right heel that had a Band-Aid on it, but I was on a mission. Must get to top and see view. So off we went from the parking lot on Tripoli Road. It was fairly rocky from what I had remembered. If you have some balance this is pretty easy to deal with, only slows you down a little bit. It does take well over a mile though for things to smooth out. We took our regular first hour stop but this was just a short rest and some liquids. We had lasagna for lunch at 11:30 so neither of us needed food yet. We powered our way up. Occasionally, through the trees, you could catch glimpses of Mt. Tecumseh. Then I could see the dark clouds brewing in the west. This caused my pace to maintain, if not increase slightly. Must, see, view. Now I never would have thought that I could go at that pace the day after doing 11miles over 2 4kers. Mind over matter.

We got to the top and it was well worth it. Way different from the last time. The views swept from Mt. Washington, down to yesterdays peaks, the lakes behind them, and over to Tecumseh. Man I have got to come back here in a crystal clear day with a picnic lunch.

This is the perfect place. Great views, nice flat rocks to sit on. I took some pictures and a video, had some snacks, and talked to some other hikers. Dad already left in search of the other views. I felt some rain drops, put the raincoat on, and headed back a little bit. Right before the top there was a big rock with some concrete footings on it. This is where the side trail is to the views on the other side. Although this viewing rock was smaller it gave the rest of the views we didn’t see before, including Franconia Notch and back to the presidentials. While this isn’t a true unobstructed 360 degree views between the two places you can see 360 degrees.

The clouds weren’t looking promising and we didn’t want to get really wet so we headed down, again at a fairly rapid pace. There are some rock slabs to walk across and we didn’t want to see if they become slippery when wet. At this point I can tell my Band-Aid has fallen off and my blister is not feeling so well. The hot spots on my big toes are also becoming really hot. That didn’t stop me though. I wanted down. I didn’t want to get wet and I did want to get to Lahout’s in Lincoln before it closed for the night. On our way down we discussed how we would most likely be coming back here more. It is a fairly easy 4ker. Only gaining 2100 feet with a bunch of switchbacks to make it very manageable. Plus the view at the top is great. I will have my picnic lunch of here one day.

Thoughts: I would recommend this as a first 4ker. As long as you have some balance the rocks are not difficult. Even if you aren’t interested in 4kers this is still a great hike with a beautiful reward at the top. Bring a picnic lunch in your backpack and enjoy your stay at the top. You won’t be disappointed, unless of course the top is in the clouds and you can only see 10 feet in front of you.

Mts Whiteface and Passaconaway

#17 Whiteface and #18 Passaconaway
June 6, 2009

The adventure really started on the drive over. For over 20 years we had driven by Sandwich Notch Rd off route 49 on the way in and out of Waterville. I always wondered about it. Well let me tell you, it was an adventurous road. Right away we went up. This is fine, the road was paved, and it was wide enough for two cars. Soon enough the pavement ended. Right after the Sandwich Notch Farm the road got interesting. Twists, turns, little hills that were so steep you couldn’t see the road at the top. Praying that it wasn’t a moose on the other side of the hill. Oh yeah, it also was wide enough for really only one car. The two times we encountered cars in the other directions it was a little hairy but all parties survived. Needless to say dad’s week old Subaru Forrester did well but he wasn’t willing to go back that way.

We got to the trailhead at 9 and it was already filling up. We quickly headed out toward Blueberry Ledges Trail for our way up. It was quite nice at first, a bit of a warm up. Gentle inclines to get the muscles, heart and lungs warmed up. Still I was going really slow. I couldn’t get myself going any faster, I think it was the thought of 10+ miles that my body was trying to pace itself. Soon the inclines got a little steeper but nothing too bad. After an hour we took our customary snack break. We headed up again and soon met a lady coming from the Blueberry Cutoff. We invited her to come along and she decided to join our march upward. I was leading, our new friend Debbie in the middle, and dad in the back. Onward and upward we went. Things got steeper but still not too technical. About 45minutes later we took our second snack break. It wasn’t too much past here that Debbie and I had to put our poles away because we were scrambling and needed both hands. At one point we can across a nice little scramble that use to have some steps drilled in. I was very happy to be going up these, I would not have been pleased going back down them. I went up all the scrambles first, found hand holes, and the best way to go up. I think it was beneficial to be tall at times, the longer legs made some of this easier. After 3 hours we made it to the clearing right by the top. There was a small, but very friendly AMC group up there already that we chatted with a little. We had some more food, took more pictures, and parted ways with Debbie. She was heading back down and we were heading over to Passaconaway.

The Rollins Trail between the two summits was moderate at first but nothing really technical. It went down a lot more then I thought. There were occasional views of the bowl but nothing too exciting. We were surprised how many people were going in the opposite direction. That meant they were going to go down the Blueberry Ledge scrambles, no thank you. After intersection Dicey’s Mill Trail things started going back up. I was thankful for the switchbacks because I was becoming very tired. I had taken my big bag with extra weight like my sleeping bag to get use to it and get a better workout. I was defiantly working out. Nothing really to speak of on the way up. Right before the top there was a little clearing, I stopped briefly and then headed toward the summit. Boring. No views, just a cairn. I quickly got back to the little clearing and lay down. I sarcastically said I wasn’t tired, I was just working on my sun tan. I did get up because the bugs were annoying. I noticed that the view was looking toward Waterville. We were so close by way the bird flies, yet so far away. We didn’t stay long because there was nothing to see and it was buggy. Now we saw black flies but I didn’t get bit by any. The mosquitoes on the other hand seemed to ignore the Ben’s 100 and take to nibbling on my head. Grrr. Down we went. I was going at a decent pace but then my ankle started to ache. No reason that I could think of in particular but it was enough to annoy me. We went down Dicey’s Mill Trail which was fairly easy. About a third of the way down I slowed down a lot. Between being tired and my ankle bothering me I couldn’t get myself going any faster. There was no real rush. That was until we heard some thunder. The trail is pretty shaded so we couldn’t tell where it came from or where it was going. It was enough to get me moving quicker. It seemed like it took forever to get down. Finally we came to a clearing with a nice looking house. The sky had some small dark clouds so it appeared that we just heard an errant clap of thunder. I was very happy to get back to the car and just sit down. 18 down 30 to go.

Thoughts: Go Blueberry Ledges up and Dicey’s down. If it is wet Blueberry will be very difficult. Maybe an 11mile hike isn’t a good time to test out new socks. Eat more if you are carrying more weight. Random hikers that you pick up along the way can make a hike go by quicker. Thanks for joining us Debbie!