|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Osceola, Middle Osceola, West Osceola, East Osceola, NH|
||East Pond Trail, bushwhacks, Dog Leg Slide, herd paths, Mt. Osceola Trail, Timbercamp Trail, Greeley Ponds Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, July 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Spotted one car at the Greeley Ponds trailhead at 7-7:15am and another at the East Pond trailhead where we were the only cars at 7:30am and 4pm although another arrived at East Pond Trailhead as I was leaving. The Greeley Ponds trailhead overflowed during the day. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The crossing of Pine Brook 0.8mi in from the Kanc on East Pond Trail was difficult to do without getting your feet a little wet in trail runners. Then, of course, my feet got very wet scrambling up waterfalls on the approach to the slide. The crossing of Mad River on Greeley Ponds Trail was barely rock hopable without getting the trail runners wet. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||I feel like saying the East Pond Trail is blazed in yellow but I could be mistaken. No blowdowns on it that I recall. No problems following it. Mount Osceola Trail isn’t blazed for the most part on the ascent from Tripoli Rd but there’s a very faded yellow blaze or two on the ridge between the main and East peaks. It’s well trodden throughout though and easy to follow. I don’t recall any blowdowns on it. Timbercamp Trail was easy enough to follow but I don’t think it was blazed. No blowdowns that I remember. Greeley Ponds Trail has the occasional and sometimes very faded yellow blaze but is pretty obvious especially where it follows roads. Just make sure you go the right way with all of its various intersections with ski trails. I don’t recall any blowdowns on it. |
||I wouldn’t recommend this hike for most dogs due to the sketchy scrambling on the approach to the slide and up the slide in addition to all the bushwhacking. |
||Not as bad as they were at times on Carrigain bushwhack the day before but they were still out and worst than I’d seen them recently. |
|Lost and Found:
||Took the nicest day of the week to grid out the month on East Osceola for my 26th 4000 footer of the month (my counting on previous reports was off because I didn’t write one for my hike to Isolation early in the month with a friend who wrote one instead). Also went over the main peak (grid 2 here i come!), and bagged middle and west Osceola for the first time. Nice temps and if of sun and clouds throughout the day. |
We hiked in just over a mile or so on East Pond Trail from the Kanc before entering into the woods and starting our bushwhack. We meandered a bit but generally headed south to follow the brook that drains the brook between the middle and main peaks of Osceola. The woods weren’t great down low but we weren’t high enough for them to be a pricey so they weren’t too bad either. We slowly gained elevation and stayed just west of the valley/drainage we were aiming for as we thought it might be very wet. We eventually hit nastier woods and knew we’d have to drop down into it sooner or later so when we got to a spot where we could get a good look down into it we did and see it was dry so we decided to drop down off the ridge and into the drainage. Very steep but manageable. Nice to be out of the woods. The drainage was dry for a short ways as we clambered over and around boulders and sand but we soon came to very beautiful cascades and waterfalls but that also proved to be very treacherous. Some weren’t super steep and/or weren’t too wet and felt safe enough to scramble up but often times we were holding onto trees on the side of the little ravine or scrambling up to the woods to avoid them. Very slow going and not for the faint of heart. I’d recommend doing this after 1) three days of zero rain, and 2) when water is low. My trail runners didn’t offer the best traction either. Lots of black slime on the rocks that made them very slippery. Definitely used a lot of handholds and trees to hang on to and exercised extreme caution. A huge thanks to Matt who helped me through it. It really is a beautiful sight though. A bushwhack to the base of this alone will suffice for many people.
After the long and arduous process of scrambling up the drainage, we finally got to the base of the slide. If you follow the contours on the map, the drainage will take you to the col between the middle and main peaks of Osceola but the slide goes to the left (southeast) and forms a sort of dog leg, hence its name. I found the slide to be much easier scrambling than the approach to its base. The slide is of course steep and loose and does offer some treacherous footing. At many points both on the approach to the slide and on the slide we dislodged rocks and had to be very cautious as to where we were in relation to each other so as not to be in each other’s fall zones. The slide was much, much smaller drier than the drainage though. At times, particularly at the base of the slide, you could just hike up dry slab which made for descent going. The higher you went the more this disappeared and you were left with the loose, rocky footing that was treacherous.
We reached the top of the slide expecting hellish woods but we found a cut herd path instead! Yay :D This was evidently cut by skiers some years ago. We were able to follow it a good ways. It was steep but pretty pleasant compared to the alternative. It did sort of peeter out though and I eventually just made my own way to the trail but this was once the woods weren’t so thick so all in all the trek from the top of the slide to the trail wasn’t bad at all. I came out in between the true summit and the expansive ledges with the view. Wow, we’re there a lot of people! We took a nice long break, then headed back to bag the main summit and middle and west peaks.
The herd path to middle and west peaks started right where I thought it did; at the last switchback. If descending, as the trail turns left, sharply left, bear right into the woods and you should see the path. It’s followable the whole way to west peak with only a couple divergent paths but not so obvious as I felt it had been described. I got off it once or twice. That said, I didn’t really find it any less followable from middle to west as I did from the trail to middle (until recently, it was said the herd path only goes to middle and its more of a bushwhack or in and out herd path to west). There is a canister on both peaks but the one on middle was a little hard to find as it wasn’t directly on the herd path. It’s just to the left (if headed out toward west peak) of the main path shortly after you pass a little view on your right. There’s a big ledge (Peggy’s perch) you’ve got to scramble up to make it toward west peak that’s a bit challenging. Nice view there and the true summit and canister are just after it.
We retraced our steps and made it back to the main peak before heading over to east peak. Quite a hold up on the chimney and bypass. Should’ve just bushwhacked around. We made it to east peak finally and took a break before starting our bushwhack down to Timbercamp Trail. The plan was to head south and pick up a southern ridge and follow it to its southwestern end (3000ish ft) before heading east down to Timbercamp Trail for the last 0.75-1.0mi. We got sick of the thick woods though and decided to drop off the ridge early in hope of finding better woods. We dropped off at about 3350ft and headed East/southeast for about 1/3mi to 2900-2950ft where we hit a herd path/old logging road. We weren’t sure if we should follow it left and downhill but away from Timbercamp Trail of right and uphill but toward Timbercamp Trail. We decided to go right and followed it for probably close to a 1/2mi southeast gaining only a slight bit of elevation before dropping down northeast and intersecting Timbercamp Trail at just above 2450ft. We followed that down to Greeley Ponds, chatting with some people along the way and at the jct before following Greeley Ponds back out to the Kanc. Lots of people seemed to have ascended the Osceolas that way too. Some serious muddy spots on the way out and I ate it once...
Please don’t hesitate to email if you’d like my track or have any questions :)
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.