With great firm snow conditions off-trail, a hardwood bushwhack beckoned. After some photo and Google Earth research, I chose the lower part of the long ridge that runs south off East Osceola, which promised open hardwoods and a possible small ledge viewpoint. It was a great day to be in the woods.
The little ledge spot I was aiming for is shown under the "V" on the right in this photo of Mt. Osceola from Noon Peak. The "V" in the center shows the spot Mark Klim and I visited on the big slide at the head of Osceola Brook on 3/6/17.
For the third time in the last week, I admired Mt. Osceola from Osceola Vista Campground. This day's weather was comfortably in the 20s with very little wind and high grey clouds.
My objective was the brownish hardwood area at the lower center of this ridge.
Osceola Brook near where the X-C ski trail crosses on a bridge.
The south-facing slope was a bit bony at the bottom.
Looking back down the slope towards Mt. Tecumseh.
This broad ridge had as many bear trees as I've ever seen in one area.
Looks like there was some slippage here.
More marks of climbing prowess.
And another well-used beech.
There were quite a few "bear nests" overhead, masses of branches and leaves pulled together by black bears when feeding on beech nuts.
On a shoulder, approaching a small col on the ridge.
Gorgeous open hardwoods in this shallow depression.
A glimpse of North Tripyramid.
As a Lord of the Rings fan, it was easy to imagine Merry and Pippin perched on those arms.
Bare ground on a steep part of the ridge.
Another shallow col at 2400+ ft., where the ledge should be.
I was pleased to find a nice framed view of Sandwich Dome, Noon Peak and Jennings Peak at the top.
A wide angle shot, showing the col below with its old yellow birches.
A screened view of Mt. Tecumseh.
The small perch atop the cliff.
I continued up the ridge a little ways, to about 2550 ft. Beyond here, the woods looked thicker.
Cool tree wells.
A magnificent hardwood area east of the cliff, worthy of the Catskills.
A gnarled old sugar maple reaches for the sky.
More hardwood heaven.
A stout maple.
A bit of both winter and spring.
The hardwoods march on as far as the eye can see. With ideal styrofoam snow, I could wander at will.
If you like hardwoods, it doesn't get any better...
The brook that drains the great V-shaped slide on the south side of Mt. Osceola.
On the way back I made a side bushwhack to the clearing of Osceola Camp, used by the Parker-Young Company in the 1940s.
An artifact big enough to be seen even in winter.
And another that is better preserved.
Presumably this little brook was the camp's water supply.
This may have been the start of the logging road leading south from the camp, but I couldn't follow it for long.
A photo of Osceola Camp in the 1940s, which appeared in an issue of the Pycolog, the Parker-Young Company's monthly publication.
Tuning fork tree.
I paid a repeat visit to the log driving dam on the West Branch of the Mad River, where more parts of the structure were visible than a week ago.
I believe this might be "Dusky Pool" on the West Branch, a feature that appeared on the 1892 and 1904 editions of Arthur L. Goodrich's map of Waterville Valley.