September 1, 2012
Back to the White Mountains to start a new journey, a very long and logistically challenging journey. There are approximately 529 trails that encompass 1420 miles. It will take many more miles than that for me to complete this. One of the advantages/disadvantages of solo hiking is not being able to hike from one end to another and hop in the car and head home. It will either be a hike in and out or a hike encompassing a loop. Many trails and peaks will be repeated numerous times in order to finish this lofty goal. But that is where the fun comes into play, seeing the same trail or peak at different times of the year and under different circumstances. No matter what it will take me to some areas that most hikers never venture to, a pleasant side effect to this journey.
It has been almost two months since I completed the 48 4000 footers. A lot of time spent on pondering what to do next and now is the time to begin my next chapter in hiking. Today I'm going back to where I began the 48, Mt Tecumseh. But first, while I am in the same area, a trip up to Osceola. The first time I went up Osceola the weather was not good for views, the peaks were socked in all day and visibility was zip. So an early morning trip up to Osceola , this time via Tripoli Road, and then back down the road to Tecumseh.
Why go back to these two mountains if I have already done these two trails? Simple I need 1/10th of a mile from part of the loop that goes around Mt Tecumseh and Osceola is just along for the ride, so to speak. When I did Tecumseh last Labor Day weekend I mistakenly took a left turn coming off the peak and before coming back up to the peak I soon realized it was a loop. So I turned around and headed back and continued on to Sosman Trail down to the top of the ski slopes. Today is all about picking up that 1/10th of a mile of Mount Tecumseh Trail that I missed last year. Another early morning rise and I am the first one to arrive at the trailhead for Mt Osceola Trail with boots on the trail at 6:00 AM.
A little over an hour after starting and Tecumseh comes onto view from the trail of Osceola.
A quick hour and forty minutes after starting and I am at the top and head off on a spur path that leads to a big boulder where there are some fantastic views. At the time I did not know what I was looking at because I wasn't sure of my orientation in regards to compass direction. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the pictures that I realized the views were north from end of the White Mountains to the other, Franconia Ridge on the west to Carter Dome on the east. My camera does not have a panorama feature directly on it but it does have software that can take a series of pictures and stitch them together to make a panoramic picture.
This side trip back up to Osceola was well worth it because last year when I was up here it was socked in completely.
A few more pictures and some poking around the summit and it was time to head back down to the car and head over to Tecumseh. Funny thing is Osceola Trail is usually a highway in regards to hikers and by the time I got back to the car at 9:45 I had only met 7 other hikers heading up. Last year I had met about 70 people while coming down from Osceola. A quick ride west on Tripoli Road and I was back where it all started a year ago, Mt Tecumseh Trail. The trail is green like I remember it but I don not recall the steady climb at all in the early part all the way up to the first nub where I get a shot of Moosilauke.
At noontime I arrive on the summit and it is way better than last year, this time there are views from up here. On the summit, and I do mean on the summit, a dozen other hikers are lounging around the cairn. I go off to the side of the trail by a boulder and sit to have my lunch and watch as other people come and want to take their picture by the rock cairn and not one person in that group makes any attempt to move. The rudeness and ignorance of some people just astounds me sometimes. There were plenty of other places to sit and enjoy the summit but these knuckleheads chose to sit right dab in the middle of the spot to take pictures. Four more groups arrived and still no movement form these people and rather than taking the risk of saying something I leave my pack and take off to my loop around the summit to get my 1/10th of a mile. By the time I get back about 15 minutes later the peak hoggers are finally heading back down. Some good shots of the Tripyramids and Osceolas and I finally get the one shot I have been hoping for since I climbed the slide of North Tripyramid last year to put it in perspective of how steep and open that trail is.
Finally it is time to head back to the car and back down I go and it seems like a long trip down. Taking two months off from hiking and then doing two peaks in one day for the first trip is maybe more than I should have done but then again it is about pushing myself. The reality was it only took an hour and forty minutes to get down but seemed a lot longer than that. All in all it was a great return to NH and to be back in the White Mountains. And the next adventure has begun, I hiked 13 miles today to gain 1/10th of a mile to cross off the redline list.
Final numbers: 13 miles, 8 hours and 40 minutes, 2 peaks.