11.2 miles roundtrip.
At long last, the final winter 4K hike! As is so often the case in the Whites, the weather was odd. Seven days earlier, Alex and I had ascended Mt. Washington in frigid temps and subzero windchills. For Flume, we got summit temps in the 40s and valley temps in the 60s. There is no such thing as predictable White Mountain weather.
Mike, a great fellow we met the previous week outside Lakes of the Clouds Hut, joined us, as did Mirabela and Isidora. Isidora is 8 years old and a fantastic hiker; we've shared trails with her before, once on Hale and once on the way to Jackson. We were happy to see this father-daughter duo again.
We made good time on the flat Lincoln Woods Trail...
...and soon arrived at the beginning of Osseo.
After a short break, we began the ascent.
After the rock steps, the snow became a soft, knee-deep mess. Alex and Sage did well enough without snowshoes when they kept to the middle of the forming monorail, but the adults postholed in spite of our 'shoes and Hugh had a just plain horrible time. He was wearing his Cheetahs instead of his usual bionic limbs. The Cheetahs are great for bare or packed trail, but they're horrible for deep, soft snow. I gave him a pair of the girls' snowshoes and, with some cords and tape borrowed from Mike and Mirabela, he attached them to his prosthetics.
Unfortunately, the snowshoes kept falling off. Hugh persevered, though his pace became extremely slow. His Cheetahs are thin and narrow; imagine trying to walk on stilts through mushy, knee-deep snow, and you might get a sense of what he had to deal with. He became worried about slowing us down and offered to turn back once he got to the ladders, but I knew how badly he wanted to be at the summit for Alex's finish, so I encouraged him to continue.
The ladders were covered with sinking snow; grip wasn't a problem.
View from the "View" --
Many congrats to all three young ladies for an excellent hike. Many, many thanks to Mike and Mirabela for their good company and help on the trail.