Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Chocolate) Oranges and Easter Oreos on the Osceolas (Middle, Main, and East). October 18, 2013

Mt. Osceola Trail, bushwhack, Greeley Ponds Trail.  About 8 miles (traverse).

I (kind of) cheated as far as Desserts on the 48 is concerned.  Since I couldn't figure out a two-word dessert that begins with the letters E and O for East Osceola, I made "Easter Oreos" (store-bought Oreos with homemade pastel candy coating and sparkly sugar sprinkles).  For Osceola, I chose a chocolate orange.  Middle Osceola is a Trailwrights peak and not technically a Four Thousand Footer, so I didn't have to prepare a dessert for that one.

Easter Oreos

The girls and I met our friend Samantha at the trailhead to Greeley Ponds.  We left Samantha's car there, then drove my Subaru to Tripoli Road.

I hadn't done the Osceolas in a couple of years; the trail was more moderate than I remembered.  Funny how a few years of constant hiking can render "difficult" trails fairly easy.

Trailwrights is a popular list, so herd-paths have developed toward many of the off-trail peaks.  Middle Osceola's herd path begins about a quarter of a mile from the summit of Osceola's main peak, right at the last switchback on the way up.

This is NOT the entrance to Middle Osceola's herd path.

This IS the entrance to Middle Osceola's herd path.

At first, the herd path is easy to follow.

A tenth of a mile or so into the woods, however, the herd path ends in a jumble of blowdowns.  At this point, multiple unofficial pathways go left and right.  We went left, ended up in a nasty, thick, impassable area, then backtracked and went the other direction.  TW72 peakbaggers, your best bet is to approach the blowdowns, then head to the right either just before or immediately after the jumble of toppled-over trees.

There was usually a faint treadway to follow, but the trees grew thick and the hike took on the feel of an obstacle course.  It was always easy to figure out which way to go, though.  We could usually see the summit area from where we stood (I had a map and compass, of course, but the visuals of the summit area were clear).

We reached the summit area (it's obvious once you're out there).  Here's a view...

Though it was obvious we were on the summit, we couldn't figure out exactly which spot marked the highest point.  We wandered a bit, staying on herd paths whenever possible, and stood on all the tall bumps we could find.

We eventually meandered back to the Mt. Osceola Trail...

...sat on the main summit's official highpoint...

...and lounged on the ledges.

Orange (chocolate) on Osceola!

After we demolished the orange, we headed over to East Osceola.

The girls went down the chimney, but I took Max on the bypass.

One more half-mile of steep up...

...and we're there.

Easter Oreos on East Osceola!

The way down East Osceola (toward the Kanc) is steep, and the trail crosses the bottom of a slide.

Finally, we reached Greeley Ponds Trail.  The path flattened significantly.

At Greeley Ponds Trail (and Samantha's car).

Congrats to Samantha, who needed the two Osceolas for her NH48!

This was Alex's third and Sage's second time on Osceola and East Osceola.  It was our first time on Middle Osceola, which Alex and I needed for Trailwrights.

No comments: