2011 Apr 24
Atop Mt Osceola looking north
The top is barren, cleared (I presume) due to there being a tower in the past with only footings remaining.
On the last day of the 12-week GetFit@MIT, I had a fine hike to East Osceola and Osceola. Starting at the Greeley Ponds Trailhead at 8am after an easy drive (with no traffic), I donned hat and light mittens but got down to shorts and shirt before the steep section up East Osceola. The day was in the 30s with variable clouds and light wind. The monorail on the trail was mostly intact but slippery, so I used microspikes, but I was glad to have crampons for the uphill part. There were a few dicey sections with ice but nothing impassable for me. At a couple points, I regretted leaving my ice ax in the car, although shortening my poles was sufficient.
2011 Apr 2
Who: Matt Hansen, Fred Knight
Matt and I both forgot our cameras, which was the only downside to a fine day of hiking to North Hancock, elevation 4,420 feet and South Hancock, elevation 4,319 feet. The day was partially clear with a mix of a few snow squalls in between intermittent times of blue sky. We were aided by a Lone Snowshoer, who preceded us with enormous strides, and we still took almost 9 hours to complete the 10.4 miles.
The previous two days left 3-6″ of fresh snow, but we managed well with bare boots for the first two hours. We followed the Lone Wolf’s tracks; he was our Wilderness Guide. After the Hancock Loop junction, we used snowshoes and still followed the True Trailblazer up the steep (1100′ in 0.7 miles) part. The uncanny Himalayan Hiker only went awry once, after keeping on trail at a myriad of bends and right-angle turns. The Mystery Man met his match coming off North Hancock. Our Chingachgook left crisscrossed tracks in aborted attempts to find the next blaze, but finally chose a lick of young spruce to bushwhack. The Young Yeti got right back on the track! On the approach to South Peak, the Yak Tracker amazed us again and again by his abrupt turns to meander up to the top. We saw no other hikers—only the trail of Mountain Man With Long Strides.
Coming down South Peak was a glorious treat for Matt, whose balance allowed him a speedy descent. I lagged…and lagged…down the 700′ snow-covered trail. Luckily, the cushion of 6-8″ of snow made a soft landing for each step. The trail of our Winter Wonder was obliterated, but his guidance led us well.
Summary: North and South Hancock, 10.4 miles, 8:45, bare boot and snowshoes, good snow, glorious views, leadership by Dramatic Deerslayer