Date(s) Hiked: 2005-11-19

Trails(s) Hiked: Greely Pond Trail, Mt Osceola Trail

Total Distance: 7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Conditions: Light snow coverage, sunny, icy along trail in spots

Special Required Equipment: Crampons and stabilicers

Trip Report:This trip started out Thursday night. We loaded the truck up, and I took the car to work Friday. When I got home Friday, dinner was waiting, then we hit the road in 15 minutes from the time I got home. We got to Big Rock Campground in 2 hours and started to set up camp by headlight. We noticed the out house fumes nearby, so we changed campsites and set up.

It was some cold, it was to dip into the teens or below that night, but we wanted to see if we would be able camp in these temperatures comfortably. We started a fire, and in a fireplace caked with ice, it took some encouragement. When the fire started, we would roast on one side and freeze on the other, so standing and turning around were the order of the day, er... evening.

About 9 PM, we let the fire die out and we headed to bed, anticipating an early start up the mountain, with the trailhead only a few miles away. We were nice and cozy in our bags, but the moon was bright, so we pulled our hats over our eyes to darken things a bit. In the morning, Jeannette had not slept so well, this was her first time in these low temperatures. I got up, boiled water for coffee, hot chocolate and oatmeal. We broke camp, figuring that we would not stay another night. It was just too cold to enjoy sitting around the campfire.

From there we head up the road, looking for the Greely Pond trail. We see the Greely Pond cross country trail, and hesitate a bit, but I was fairly certain this was not the place. So we continue to where I thought it was and sure enough, we are at the right place. We see in the parking lot two people, and the one latching her backpack looks a lot like Amy (Yam). Sure enough, it is Yam We greet her and her hiking partner, Sean. Today would prove to be even more fun and we would make a new friend, too.

I let Suzy out of the back of the truck and we take pictures at the trailhead, and we head off. Suzy, who is almost 11 years old, is once again a puppy. Almost immediately, we come to what would prove to be the toughest stream crossing of the day. The rocks are a little far spaced and glazed over with ice. Amy and Jeannette, being diminutive of stature, have some difficulty with the crossing, but manage it with some coaxing from us. We wondered if our advice was any good.....

Soon we are at a trail junction, and can see a mountain right in front of us. It doesn’t look so bad, in fact, we are all excited to tackle this one Later, I notice that we hike right by this one, and I get a picture of it from a higher peak off to the side. There are icy spots here and there. Not really enough to keep the crampons on full time. Sean and Amy have crampons, Jeannette and I are using stabilicers. Amy just got her crampons and is anxious to use the new gear. While the crampons are way more aggressive than stabilicers, the stabilicers are adequate for today’s hike. Seems we put them on, take them off, put them on, take them off.... There are many blowdowns and the trail is repeatedly blocked. Most times, there is a way around, forged by those who have gone before us. Other times, we find a different way. After a while, we are way up there, and there is a real icy slide, and everything is covered with snow in this winter wonderland of fir trees. It is at this point that we turn back. Some of us are just too scared to fully trust ourselves or our gear to cross this icy slide, while others figure that we will live to hike another day.

Before going back, we eat a few snacks and chat. From there, going down some of the ice covered descents makes us glad we have crampons and stabilicers. They are worn more going down than going up. There is some slipping and sliding going down, with some bumps and bruises. I think on this trip, I actually have the champion bump I was walking under a blowdown, and having a brimmed hat, did not duck enough. I jammed my head into a broken branch, about an inch diameter on the tree. It didn’t move any. Being in construction, I buckled my knees immediately to save my neck from jamming, and laid on the ground over a small runoff ditch. I was fine, though my head was bleeding. I put my hand kerchief over my head to stem the bleeding and put my hat over it to hold it in place.

We continue on back to the trailhead, and make several stream crossings, all the while talking about pizza and french fries. So we head into Lincoln for Pizza at Elvios and french fries and chat a bit. After chowing down, we say our good byes and head home, while Sean and Amy head back to the Hancock campsite.