Start (approx.): 5:45 am Camp (approx.): 12:34 am
4000 footers climbed: Mt Hancock (1:30 pm), South Hancock (2:20 pm), East Osceola (8:40 pm), Mt Osceola (10 pm)
Miles hiked: 25.2
I start hiking at 6 am and the first miles are flat and easy. I recommend hiking the little pine island trail since it’s so much prettier than staying on the main trail. At the Franconia Brook East campsite I chat with a guy who just discovered that mice have infiltrated the bear box and now have eaten his breakfast. I tell him how we rescued raccoons out of a dumpster on the Florida trail. I think about using the pit toilets at the campsite but they are nauseating. Instead I walk down to the river to see if I could have forded it. I think it would have been possible. Maybe not right there but it doesn’t seem particularly high right now.
The Cedar Brook trail is wonderfully graded and I make good time going up. I stash my pack again at the junction to the Hancocks and quickly walk the 1 mile to the steep and crappy trail to North Hancock. At the top I chat with a few hikers and walk out to the view point. Today is another good weather day so I have a nice view. Next up is South Hancock and of course this is an easy stretch of trail so my leg starts hurting again. Arghh!!! I can’t believe we missed the view last time we were up at South Hancock, there is even a sign pointing it out! Duh! The steep downhill is no fun and I’m glad when I get back to my pack and get to take a lunch break. The leg still hurts when I put my pack back on but I’m determined to make good time on this section since it’s such easy trail. I put my music on and sing along at the top of my longs this usually helps speed me along. Thank goodness I only run into to two more hikers when I’ve calmed down a bit. They’re going to set up camp for a few days and I’m almost at the road.
A short road walk gets me to the Greeley Pond trail and eventhough it’s getting dark I’m feeling good and decide to continue on to the Osceola’s. I’ve not climbed them from this side before and I’m in for a nice rock scramble. I’m in good spirits and don’t really mind the rough terrain. It’s a bit slow and I have to be careful but I’m somehow enjoying the craziness of doing this in the dark. From East Osceola to the peak of Mt. Osceola I know there is another little rock scramble but I decide to push on and get it over with. I have this memory of the trail on the other side being really nice.
The summit of Osceola is pretty open and I have a view of the night sky with a super bright moon. Pretty cool! Less cool is the trail down which really isn’t as nice as I had thought. At this point I’m getting pretty tired and the rocky trail isn’t helping. I may have had a little breakdown. There really is no option to pull off the trail and camp so I struggle on to the trailhead and find a flat spot in the woods to crash.