Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Snowshoeing South of Osceola: 12/8/20

The recent storm left varying amount of snow across the mountains, increasing with elevation. I figured I might be able to get in the season's first snowshoe outing at Waterville Valley, and I was not disappointed. Snow depths were just a few inches at the Livermore trailhead, but increased to 10 inches at 2400 ft.

A number of folks were out skiing and walking the Waterville Valley X-C ski trails, though the system was not officially open yet (trail fee required in-season). I headed up to the trails at the north end, starting on Tripoli Road and passing through Osceola Vista Campground, where I could see that the summit of Mt. Osceola was socked in, though the big southwest slide was visible.

There was a fuzzy glimpse of North Tripyramid.

Wintry beauty was found on the north end X-C ski trails.

First snowshoe tracks of the season.

The clearing and picnic table at the end of the Upper Osceola trail.

Heading into the woods for a bushwhack along the stream that drains from the southwest slide.

Snow-caked trees mean powdery loads dumped on your back.

Not far in there is a remarkable boulder train presumably deposited by the southwest slide, which was unleashed by Hurricane Carol in 1954.

Not going that way.

The brook that drains from the slide.

Winding up through open hardwoods on the slope west of the brook, onto the south ridge of Mt. Osceola.

Following an old sled road for a bit.

I visited a favorite open glade of sugar maples, studded with granite boulders.

The champion tree of the glade.

Snow depth about 10 inches here.

A small pool in the forest.

A wonderful place to make tracks.

Could this corridor be part of the old trail to Osceola, which ascended this ridge? It was originally opened by Nathaniel Greeley in the 1850s. Parts on the lower slopes were later relocated due to logging. It was abandoned in the late 1930s.

Squid tree.

Ledgy spot on the brook draining from the southwest slide. In a 1964 aerial photo, a large open swath of slide rubble occupied this area. The forest has fully reclaimed all but the brook itself.


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