I had set an alarm but was awoken before it. Not that people were rude but I slept like shit. There was movement about the house and the man sleeping in the bunk above me seemed to be on the move a lot. I rolled out of bed but quickly realized I wasn't prepared. I had no idea how loud everything sounded as I tried to gather my stuff and get out.
I left without my hat and couldn't find my toothpaste. This was the temp as I rolled into Peg's to get breakfast. I like this little place on the corner in Woodstock. I can quietly eat at the counter as the 3 locals bitch about tourists or politics or make fun of each other's age.
I hit this trail sign and walked into the woods at 7:45. I was only the second car in the lot. My plan was to hike to Osceola , on to Osceoa east and double back to my car.
The trail was pretty pleasant. Rocks to hop or walk around and a lot of these large slabs as I got closer to the top.
One of the funny things was how many times the sky seemed to open and brighten as if I was getting close to the Summit only to switchback and keep moving up. I am a hot hiker and was in hiking pants and light long sleeved top. I was not cold but worried about the mist as it seemed to increase so I stopped and put on my rain coat, baseball hat and raincover for my pack. I didn't want to lose track of how wet I was getting and not have any dry clothes. The wind was heavy too so I didn't need issues later.
The Summit was this large open slab and my hat immediately blew off. I decided to stay within the concrete legs of what I think was an old fire tower and snack quick. I was getting cold and damp and needed to keep moving.
I trotted off the summit with a purpose and was immediately hit with a descent so steep I am scooting on my bottom. I was mid-way down and thought screw it, I'll just quit. It's still 3.2 miles back to my car right this very second. I have bagged 2 4000 footers and that is good.
And then I said Suck it up Berry. You have 1 mile. 1!! And you have the next peak. You can do 1 mile. Just pull this shit out of your ass.
And then I laughed at myself. I'm such an asshole as I bitch myself out and kick myself in the ass to keep moving.
At the bottom of the first steep section it opens and I see this. This is where I am going and it seems like a hell of a lot farther than a mile.
I pulled out my map and directions only to see I packed the wrong ones. I have the ones that come from the Kangamangus and Greeley Pond trail and I am coming from Tripoli Rd. Everything I needed was in reverse and I had no details on the trail from the lot up to the first Summit.
Good news is this trail has no cross trails and there was really no room for error. The trail didn't even have blazes or a Summit sign. Unfortunately by bringing the wrong list I also had no description of the trail. I basically used time as my judge of distance.
That also meant I knew there was a thing called "The Chimney" but I was coming the opposite direction so as I was busting my ass decending down and around a corner I didn't realize this was the "go around" if you didn't want to do the Chimney. Once I got to the bottom I could see it and I wouldn't have ever come down it anyway. If I was going to tackle it Up would be the only way.
So although it was a mile, it was a good mile for sure. It took a little over an hour due to all the scrambling.
This was the Summit of Osceola East. A pile of rocks in the center of trees. I sat and ate and tended to my toes a bit. As I'm sitting there 2 guys walk by and say hello. A third man (clearly a regular to this area) stops and mentions to the 2 pressing on-Hey, if you're looking for the East Summit it's right here.
They stop and we all laugh about how anticlimactic it is. I expect a great view or a sticker or something. Nope, just some rocks.
In a few minutes I am able to catch back up and ask if they know about the Chimney. One says I have read about it and I think I'm going to do it. The second says well I am a rock climber but I don't have ropes or anything. What are the chances of meeting a rock climber? They came in from the other direction and are hiking to the Main peak and turning back.
I decide I am doing it if they are. Seemed safer with company.
When I get there I decided to take my raincoat off and look up, I think it's doable. Looks like there are places for foot and hand pretty clearly.
They are soon behind me and all 3 of us slowly but steadily make our way up and out.
Yeehaw and so much faster than the dreaded bypass I came down.
I am on a roll now, nothing but parking lot on my brain. The return to the Summit is faster and I am surprised by the amount of people. Maybe 8-10 having a snack.
I break shortly, relayer and take more pictures but am a little concerned about the sky. I am not a weather person but this view looks more ominous and I want to be out and off all those rocks before the rain comes. The descent is also on the back side away from this view and it seemed a little better looking.
As I make my way down I pass dozens of people on their way up. I look at my watch-noon. I am glad I got an early start.
As I got a good mile down it brightened and I got to enjoy the green forest again. The misty dampness seems to have dried up.
I was getting tired though. I was noticing that I repeatedly did the math of how much time I took to get up and figured I should be back to the car by 3.
That seems like a million miles away and I started to feel clumsy. I stubbed my toe a couple times and once even snagged the shoe lace at the toe of my boot on a root so as I step forward if yanked my foot back. I'm not even sure how that happens.
I decided to put time out of my head and look around. I needed to slow way down or I might get hurt.
It might just be me but I think this is a tree heart. We collect all signs of hearts in this family so this had to be saved. I also stopped and collected beautiful red and orange leaves from the trail. It was very green and mossy with cool mushrooms but red leaves peppered sections on the lower trail.
Before I knew it I was walking back into the parking lot at 2:02 pm. Total of about 8.4 miles in 6hrs 15 minutes.
I was not surprised to see the lot full and many cars parked out on the road. I was just happy to be leaving and not starting this late.
I made a quick turn around to meet a friend for dinner in Conway. I rushed back to the house, jumped in the shower and headed over the Mountains to Conway. Once I peeled myself out of the car after about a 50 minute ride I realized my right knee was not good. My quads were sore but the knee was angry.
The AMC hike for Sunday had been cancelled due to lack of leadership. A few people were still thinking about doing it personally but as the night wore on I just could not see another 7.3 miles happening.
Instead I planned to sleep until I woke and see where I felt like heading. 6:03 wasn't what I had in mind but there were some people who forgot the "no boot" rule applied to the 1st floor too.
I decided to take advantage of the free coffee and wifi until some others in my room woke up so I headed to the living room on the second floor. I was happily greeted by 2 women who shared coffee, stories and advice for over an hour. Before we knew it many more people started waking up and trails were calling so we parted ways.
I decided to take the scenic route over the Kanc one more time to see the leaves. I saw people taking pictures on this bridge last night and knew I needed one too.
The Lincoln Woods Visitor Center is a place I haven't been yet but then again I will be back. This morning I hobbled my way out and got this picture. It doesn't give the foliage the respect it deserves but you get the idea.
So all in all I had a super weekend. I covered 3 more great mountains.
I have a little more confidence in my experience. The pack itself was a better fit this time for sure but I think I want to lighten it up a bit. I weighed it and I was carrying about 17 lbs this weekend. I think I was worried about 2 big hikes and the weather so I had food I never touched and clothes I didn't need. I will get my Fall mojo back soon.
I am signed up for a Winter Hiking class in Novemeber but next step is clothes. Time to start thinking about better choices for cold weather.
P.S. Stay tuned while I investigate my bike as my spot car too.