Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:11 am
Location: Phillipston, MA
Inspired by a recent trip report on RocksonTop that mislabelled East Osceola as Southeast Osceola, I was curious about the shoulder of Osceola that runs south from the East Peak. At it's southern end there appeared to be a peak with 50' or more prominance. Both the Goodrich Rock Tr and the Timber Camp Tr head partway up it's flank, so I managed to convince dougeh and ScenicNH to head up there for some whacky whackin'.
The drive up provided a mix of omens - lots of roadkill along Rt 93 for bad omens, and a spotting of Marc Howes heading north as a good omen.
All three of us arrived at the Livermore TH at about the same time, parked and geared up. After about 5 minutes spent photographing the lady slippers and bunchberries at the trailhead, we started off.
The Livermore and Greeley Pond Trails are both gentle, easy walks. We soon reached the start of the Timber Camp Tr but headed a short ways further down the GPT to check out the bridge crossing for more phot ops.
The TCT follows an old logging road (wow, what a surprise!) most of the way. It gets a little rougher just beyond a sharp switchback but soon got easy again. The first clearing featured a big pile of loose sand and rocks alongside the trail. Climbing up onto it we were rewarded with some fine views to the east. The 2nd clearing was reached a little further up the trail, with more fine views to be enjoyed and photographed. We were especially enjoying the close views of the awesome cliffs on the SE side of East Osceola. We wondered if we should try heading for them and also if rock climbers ever head over there.
I noticed a path heading out of the clearing and we decided to follow it, not sure if we were wrong in thinking that the first clearing was considered the first clearing or if we still had another clearing to reach. Anyways, we soon realized that this was some sort of bootleg trail. It was cleared and easy to follow. We decided to see where it went. It went uphill a bit and then truned south, following the contour of the mountainside, eventually reaching a cleared spot where someone had cut quite a bit of brush and trees to make a viewpoint and campsite. We debated whether to include this in the trip report or not...
We followed the trail a little further beyond this point but it soon petered out. Here we made our big mistake - we started whacking into the woods, heading for the SE peak. Afterwards we agreed it would have made more sense to head back to the 2nd clearing and start our whack from there. As it was, we were probably just above Goodrich Rock and found ourselves in some very thick woods.
The whack was quite tough and provided me with a new benchmark for tough whacks. This was definitly tougher than my whack to West Scar Ridge from the Loon Mtn side. Not sure how it compares to other routes to Scar Ridge, but we all would be covered with fresh scars by the end of this hike!
We spent several hours pushing through thick trees, clambering over blowdowns, avoiding a possible bear's den, swatting at bugs, and cracking jokes. Very rarely did we encounter any kind of herd path or open woods, and when we did it never went further than a few dozen yards. We might have hit the high point of this subpeak along the way, but considered it close enough for a peak that doesn't count for any list anyways
We then reached a place that provided a much neaded resting spot. We were on the NW side of the ridge and found a nice big rock to climb up on for an awesome viewpoint. The view of the main peak of Osceola was stupendous. I had never known there was a slide on the south side of the mountain, but there it was, plain to see from this rare vantage point. We could also see people up on the ledges and wondered if they noticed us down there in the woods - maybe my orange hat and shirt stood out?
We ate some food and drank some water and contemplated our maps. We had been hoping to whack all the way to the Mt Osceola Tr and then hit East Osceola on the way out via the Grelley Ponds. But it looked like we had ALOT of whacking still to do. The col looked much deeped than I had expected and made me wonder if it was actually a 100' or more. And it looked like we would have alot of elevation gain to get up to the trail. The options we considered included - keep going on our planned route and probably not get back to the cars until after dark; whack west down to Osceola Brook and follow it out to Tripoli Rd (deemed too dangerous); or try to whack SE, back to the Timber Camp Tr. We eventually concluded the sanest decision was that last one, so that's what we did.
The whack back out was a little easier. It seemed the trees were spaced a little wider in this area, but maybe it was the psychological effect of heading out. We eventually came to the bootleg trail a short walk from were it left the 2nd clearing.
We enjoyed a leisurely stroll back down to the cars, discussing the day and our future plans for hiking this summer. We were all pretty satisfied with the results - a day in the woods where few have been before and a surprisingly nice viewpoint to cap it off
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:05 pm
This was definitly tougher than my whack to West Scar Ridge from the Loon Mtn side. Not sure how it compares to other routes to Scar Ridge
It is hard to imagine anything worse than the whack to West Scar Ridge from Little East Pond. I still haven't healed all the way almost two weeks later.
Still sounds like South East O was fun.
- C. Thomas
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 8:16 pm
Location: Warner, NH
Sounded like a great time despite the self-abuse
Regarding the slide, Google Maps and better yet, Google Earth is your friend
I usually check it out before a hike to look for obvious outlooks that might be missed otherwise. Not to say the one you were on would be visible, though. Surprises are nicer.