IntroductionSince I was on vacation with family in the northeast, I was limited in my choices for days to hike. The only option turned out to be pretty wet. I was hoping for some clearing so that I could get a good view of the White Mountains, but that did not happen. So, I had to be content with a good hike/climb only.
I started from the Mount Osceola Trail's Tripoli Road trailhead, and used that trail to climb Mount Osceola. From there, I continued to East Osceola. At that point, I turned around at returned by the same route.
This was a day on which I needed my good, waterproof rain jacket and my gaiters (since I hike in shorts whenever possible). The air was saturated with moisture because of the rain which had happened the day before, and there were periods of drizzle and rain during the day.
Trailhead to Mount Osceola
The Mount Osceola Trail almost continuously ascends from the trailhead through the Breadtray Ridge. There are a few switchbacks on the route. It is very rocky at the bottom, and care is needed to place your feet. Some stair construction and erosion control has been done here. At the trail's higher elevations, the surface is exposed rock in some places - though it was not as slippery as I expected it to be.
There are a couple of places where old, now unused trails once joined the Mount Osceola Trail. However, to me it was pretty obvious which trail to follow.
Because of the rain, all of the streams/drainage routes had water running in them, but there was no place that threatened to flood the trail.
It took me about 2 hrs, 10 mins to reach the top. There would have been a great view on a clear day!
Mount Osceola to East Osceola, and back
Fortunately, there is a bypass just to the north of the chimney. I decided to be smart and use it. There is a short scramble on the bypass, but it's easy.
The return was pretty much the same difficulty. It was an easy descent to the col for me. I thought about climbing the chimney, but again I decided to use the bypass instead. If it had been dry I might have decided to do it, but one slip could have resulted in a serious injury from falling, and the wetness greatly increases risk.
The trail has some old blazes in the East Osceola-to-Mount Osceola direction, colored gold/yellow, between the peaks.
Mount Osceola to trailheadFrom the Mount Osceola summit, it is a straightforward descent to the trailhead after leaving Breadtray Ridge. It rained more heavily for a while. The key was to make sure to stay on the trail; as it is not quite as obvious going back in a couple of places where there might be old trails. (The Mount Osceola Trail is not blazed in this section.)
The toughest part was the bottom half, where it was very rocky and I was getting tired! (Living in Michigan kills your mountain hiking abilities, no matter how much trail hiking and elliptical machine work you do.) Hiking poles are an essential piece of equipment for me, in order to go downhill.
Eventually (2 hrs, 15 mins), I got back to the trailhead. It was a good day. Sometimes, all you get is a great hike - and that's enough.