Friday, June 5, 2015

Hancocks, Osceolas, & Mt. Tecumseh - 6/3/15

With 17 4,000-footers to hike this month for my goal. On Wednesday night, I set out for my usual mid-week night hike to kick off June, and for this night I decided on the Hancocks & Osceolas.  I decided on the Hancock's first so that I could get a good daylight glimpse of the multiple crossings in case they were higher than the norm (see below for river crossing photos).  At 7:44pm, I was off and headed up the trail.
Starting the hike to the Hancocks     
Almost to the Hancock Loop Trail 
Last light approaching the South Hancock Summit
It was nice to have some stars out, but it seemed to cloud up as I traversed the ridge to North Hancock. I descended quickly, and motored along the trail non-stop until I was finished.  When finished, I noticed a thorn had got me good on my knee when I had to scoot along the edge of one river when I crossed. Didn't notice until the end.
North Hancock Summit 
Night time river crossings!
A fairly deep gouge for a thorn
About 15 minutes after arriving at the car from the Hancocks, I moved over to the Greeley Ponds Trail head and started my way to the Osceolas.  It was comfortable out, about 50 degrees. I had changed my shirt, and was ready for another steep battle. Once I got to the ridge, I was in the clouds, and in a dense fog bank which penetrated the trees onto the trail corridor.
Greeley Ponds Trail head 
Steep trail to East Osceola 
Dense fog on Mt. Osceola Trail\ 
East Osceola Summit
After the summit, I made fairly quick work to the chimney and bypass section.  As fun as it is, there's no need to ascend the chimney myself in the dark, so without hesitation I scooted up the bypass and continued on my way. Arriving at the summit of Osceola was pretty ominous as the fog cover was very thick.  After a very short break, I headed back, reaching my car in amazing one hour and fifty-six minutes, the quickest I've ever hiked the Osceolas.
The bypass to the chimney at night 
Arriving at the Osceola Summit 
Osceola Summit Marker 
Heading back down the bypass 
Since it was only 2:00am, and I had thoughts all night about such, I decided that I had just enough time to go get Tecumseh before I had to be at work.  Without much hesitation, I hopped in the car and drove Tripoli Road to the Waterville Valley Ski area.  At 3:45am I was on my way up Tecumseh for my 5th 4,000-footer of the night.  Just like the Osceola's the dense fog was settled over the mountain creating an eerie atmosphere. One foot in front of the other, I reached the summit in a little over an hour.  This was my 10th summit of Tecumseh.  On the summit, the birds started to chirp meaning sunrise was approaching.  I made my way down, finishing in just under two hours, with plenty of time to get back to MA and arrive timely for work.  Its amazing that I can pull up to three different trail heads and do five 4,000-footers without ever seeing another person. The total for the night was 21.3 miles and 8,712' of elevation gain in 8 hours total trail time, which is comparable (in distance and elevation gain) to a Presidential Range Traverse or climbing Mt. Rainier.  

Mt. Tecumseh Trail 
Going to be a socked in summit 
Mt. Tecumseh Summit around 4:30am 
Hancocks - 11th Round
Osceolas- 10th Round; new personal fastest time
Tecumseh - 11th Round; #476/576 for Grid. 100 to go between now and November.
Did not see another person all night.
3rd time to each peak in 2015

Trail Conditions:
I was a little worried about the difficulty of the crossings on this night, but they were actually already pretty low after rain this week.  I got my feet a little damp making my way out to the Hancocks, especially on the last couple crossings.  I was able to find rocks to hop across, a couple of them being submerged. The trail was a little muddy in a few spots, but not bad at all. The crossing on the way to the Osceolas was no problem. The trail was a little damp, but there were no hazards other than the dense fog.  For Tecumseh, the trail was damp, and the stream crossings were no problem.

Hancocks, wide but shallow here 
Oscecola's crossing
Hike Stats - Hancocks
Trails: Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail, Hancock Loop Trail
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,961 ft.
Actual Book Time: 3:10
Garmin Adventure

Hike Stats - Osceola's
Trails: Greeley Ponds Trail, Mt. Osceola Trail
Distance: 7.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,092 ft.
Actual Book Time: 1:56
Garmin Adventure

Hike Stats - Tecumseh
Trails: Mt. Tecumseh Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,280 ft.
Actual Book Time: 1:55
Garmin Adventure
Photo Album Link (all three)

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