Boys Hike 2014 - South Hancock and the Osceolas

So every year for the past decade, a group of male friends have gotten together for a hike/social event on Columbus Day weekend. We've all got yearly passes from our significant others to take this weekend. (Thank you Julia!) This takes place often, but not always, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Yes, we started both days of hiking with Irish Car Bombs in the parking lot. Doesn't everybody?

The full crew.

After last year's trip encountered difficulties in a campground, we decided to just find a spot in the woods this year. Planning came down to the last minute, when we decided to meet on the hairpin turn on the Kancamagus highway just east of Lincoln.

Dan will tell us where to go. Just turn that map right side up first.

Perty leaves hang on even past peak foliage.

A bunch of goofballs. Justin, Dan, Kevin and Jevan.

After pulling up Swingers style with almost as many vehicles as people, (cars-5, people-7) we headed into the woods up the Hancock Notch trail. Not before partaking in Irish Car Bombs in the parking lot first, however. (Thanks Dan!) Let's just say we kept up that spirit, er...spirits for the rest of the weekend.

We were planning on camping in the woods, so I and a few others carried both a day pack and a bigger pack with tent, sleeping bag, food, booze... About a half mile in we headed up a stream and found some spots in the woods.

It was cool and a little misty but the weather cleared up and stayed clear for the rest of the hike. I had forgotten how quickly hiking can go when chatting.

About a half mile after camp, Dan once again stepped up big time and provided lunch of various variety of fancy cheeses and cured meats. Oh, and we polished off most of a box of wine then too.

Any good hiker will tell you a hike is not a hike without a box of wine.

Cured meats and stinky cheese. Not bad for a trail lunch!

As we didn't start until noon, and set up camp not long after, we decided to head to South Hancock and then turn around so we didn't have to hike in the dark. It's a solid climb, especially that last half mile up to the summit.

This is the only view from the top of South Hancock. And yes Dan, that is Chocorua. 

I love the aspens in late fall.

Back at camp around dusk, we made a fire and had a fine pesto pasta and sausage dinner prepared by Thatcher. Oh, and a few fifths of whiskey were consumed as well. Apparently my tent site was a bit slanted. Well, I didn't notice.

Clean your plates boys.

Enjoying the camaraderie and fire in the woods.

What is that man thinking about?

Don't mess with this dude.

The next morning we all managed to get up reasonably early and headed back out to the parking lot where we bid farewell to Justin and Evan and hello to Ward. Then we hopped in our cars and headed back down to road to the trailhead for the Greeley Ponds trail. Once again, we started the hike with car bombs. They really do provide a nice nutritious and uplifting boost. Now if only cliff made Guiness bars...

And when I use the word "player" below, I'm referring to it in the cool, you're the man sense. Because surely, if I know anything, I know that this is not a game. This is serious.

Player Name: Kevin

Player Name: Thatcher

Player Name: Justin
Player Name: Dan

Player Name: Evan

Player Name: Eli

Player Name: Jevan

Player Name: Ward

So the first few miles are flat but the section of the Osceola Trail up to East Osceola is very steep. This is actually a trail that I've never done before, but I won't forget it. I swear it goes up over 1,600 feet in 1.2 miles. Steep. The reward at the top, other than the beautiful view, was chicken burritos and 16oz PBR's schlepped up there by Sherpa Ward.

The trail up to East Osceola from the Kancamagus is STEEEEEEP!

Thatcher displays our burrito triangle, provided for lunch by Ward. Yum.

Enjoying our pounders, even the headless dude in the middle.

Jevan climbs up a steep section between East Osceola and Osceola.

There's a cool cliff as you begin to ascend the trail up to East Osceola.

There are some fun short steep rocky sections on the way over to Mt. Osceola. There were a million people on the summit, but who could blame them, it was a fine day with one of the nicest rock benches in the Whites. After an informal lunch, a group picture, a fair amount of flatulence, and some incredible views, we headed back down. We stopped at Upper Greeley Pond on the way back and then went back to the cars and eventually headed our separate ways.

Views toward the Pemigewassett. 

View from Osceola toward the Sandwich Range.
We noticed this photo nailed onto a tree facing out to the sky. It was a photo of a woman but it was so far out there we couldn't see it well and didn't find any info. 
The crew on top of Osceola.

Self Portrait

Here's the ridge between East Osceola and Osceola. It's gets steep near where you can see the cliff.

And a closer view of one of the steep sections.
Heading down one of the steep exposed sections, you can see Upper Greeley Pond Below.

Kevin is very cautious as he rounds the bend. Don't want to spook the moose...or the photographer.

Nice Leaf.

Reflection in Upper Greeley Pond.

Upper Greeley Pond.

Jevan, Thatcher and I stopped at the Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln which is one of my favorite stores in the world and is owned and operated by Steve Smith, who edits the White Mountain Guide and knows pretty much everything about the Whites. Then we had nice burgers at Black Mountain Burger and headed home.


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