Osceolas and the Hancocks – Trip Report

01/10/15
East Osceola 4,156′, Osceola 4,340′, South Hancock 4,319′, Hancock 4,420′
(Greeley Ponds, Mt Osceola Tr) (Hancock Notch, Cedar Brook, Hancock loop)
(7am-11am) (12pm-4pm)
(7.5 miles)(10 miles)

The Osceolas
Lucy and I were up early. Around 5. So not that early. We made our way to the trailhead at Greely Pond. It was -2 at on my weather app and my thermometer stated similar. There were 3 other cars in the parking lot but the lot was plowed so I was able to get a spot. There was a good pack and little snow since last storm so I opted out of the snow shoes. It was a clean hard packed snow. We started hiking around 7.
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Lucy and I worked quickly to the trail junction without any troubles. The hard packed snow made travel on this hike go quickly. There was a rock shelter at the beginning of the For the cold weather winter hikes I have been wearing my base layer and then a light midlayer. The light mid layers will pull up all the sweat and then on the summit I change the mid layers out as to avoid the cold. It has been working great.
Before long Lucy and I were on the slides where we were able to grab this view.
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Shortly after that I caught up with some of the folks that were ahead of me. A hearty hello as we reached the top of the slide. They went to the lookout and i kept on the trail. We reached the summit in great time.
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The stretch between the Osceolas was a little soft but with another person in front of me and many more following me it should be more broken out as of now. It was still fairly manageable in micro spikes. We passed the first person out that day. He was on his way out just below the summit of Osceola. We chatted for a moment and on we went. The summit ledges were a bit cloudy when we got there. The actual summit is a bit further up the trail so I quickly dropped my gear and bagged it. Lucy and I had a quick snack on the ledges and got these shots.
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The cold hurried us right along. We were out of there. Making our way out was not difficult at all. After we retraced our steps past East Osceola summit we went to the lookout spot we passed earlier that morning. We got this great shot of Osceola.
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On the slides we ran into Steven and Nancy from the Facebook 4000 footer page. Great to see you folks again!
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On top of that we ran into my friend from college John Bergeron near the parking lot. Always great to see folks you know. It was a popular trail on the way down. We were back to the parking lot around 11. It was packed and cars were on the road as well. I made a cup tea and Lucy and I had a quick lunch as we drove up the Kanc to our next destination. Hancock Notch for our second hike.

The Hancocks
I put the two of these hikes in the same trail report because it felt like one long hike with a lunch break at the car. Lucy and I made wag down trail together just after lunch. I had a Peppermint tea refreshing me up the gentle incline of the notch trail. There were many people on the way out and after inquiry I was confidant in my choice to leave my snowshoes in the car. Two for two on the day! The trail was well packed the whole way to Cedar Brook and beyond to the junction of the Hancocks. Lucy and I were making time when we met a woman going down. I told her how we hoped to be out by nightfall. It seemed likely.
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We decided to go up South Hancock. Once again the trail was packed but with the steep grades of the trail and the butt sledding of the folks descending the traction was horrible and slow going. Lucy and I reached the top of South Hancock and were greeted by cold temps and moderate winds. I could see that the viewpoint was cloudy so we pressed on down the loop.
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My thermometer was reading 0. There were light winds. Lucy was not having any problems at all. She is an impressive lady. We finally got some views when we reached the Hancock lookout. Day was growing old on the world. Lucy and I took a moment to appreciate the day one last time.
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The hike down was quick and uneventful. Towards the end Lucy would venture off to the sides of the trail, dig around and lay down. She was tired. I was too. It was a wonderful day with the dog out on the trails. But we were spent. We bagged 4 peaks and hiked almost 18 miles. When we got back to the car Lucy eagerly climbed in and we drove back to North Woodstock to stay at the Notch Hostle where we had a warm bed and hot food. Look for more information on the notch Hostle in the reports to come…
Lucy and I were in bed early with plans of a Franconia ridge hike for the next day. Trip report to follow!

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