Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Winter officially started 2 weeks ago. I'm two weeks behind. Two weeks, no peaks. I'm all ready very much doubting my ability to pull this off. As the price of gas increases I continue to run out of money to even try this. However, I love any trip I can take into the White Mountains. It's my backyard. I know more about the White's then I do about any of the towns I've lived in in the last 5 years. So it's always a mini-homecoming when I peel off the highway and find myself at a trail head.
Today it was Patrick and I. Pat is getting ready for his upcoming Winter Backpacking class with the UNH OE Department. He has limited winter hiking experience but knows he's in good hands. I trust the kid an awful lot, competent and a good head on his shoulders. The kid is strong, I know he can hang. We meet up at a Park-N-Ride with a plan. We'll hike the Osceola's and then head just up the road a whole quarter mile and hike the Hancocks. Pat thinks the 17.6 miles is a bit more then we can chew.. if everything goes according to plan, it's a no brainer for me, just a long day of walking for 8 hours. He's up for the challenge and so am I.
As we drive down the Kanc from Lincoln and look out the window, our jaws drop. There's more snow in our towns (Derry and Epping) then there is here. As we park the car and get out, we see that the trail has been very well travelled. It usually is. Pat has everything.. including the Kitchen sink.. in his pack. He asks me if he should leave the sleeping bag and pad behind, I chuckle and he says, "Oh what the hell.. it's weight training." So, my with my minimal gear and Pat with everything under the sun, we head out.
Soon we came to the famous East Osceola Slide. We were pleased to see that a rock ridge was visible right up the center of the slide. We walked the line up, then jumped off and back into the woods. Finally, we reached the top of East Osceola where we took our packs off and had a long snack. I had almonds, dark chocolate, raisins and craisins then chased it down with a strawberry banana fruit smoothie from Stonyfield. After our brief break and a few photos, we slung our packs back on and started to head over to Osceola main peak.
Back at the car, after having a really great time out in the whites, we knew that the Hancocks were out of the question. It took us almost 8 hours to do these peaks, one of my all time slows up here. But what the hell, our slow slog of the O's beat a ay inside watching crummy TV shows on cable. Until I return again...