Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday - 12/22/2012

Saturday I met Ryan Welts over at the Hancock Overlook right at the hairpin on the Kanc.  The plan was to go up Hancock Notch Trail to Cedar Brook Trail to Hancock Loop Trail and do the two Hancocks (which I haven't done yet).

On the way over the Kanc, it started to snow and the road got progressively worse.  It was icy and snowy but the good news is that at 6:30am you can take your sweet time as there is no one on the roads (especially the Kanc).  After Ryan got there, we suited up and left the snowshoes behind (which I was a little sad to do, but we figured the snow would be 'ok' on the trail and were banking on it being packed out a bit).

We hopped on the trail across the road and immediately noticed how brutal the footing was.  Postholing every other step gets VERY tiring after a while.  Someone had been in there but with boots on, so the trail wasn't packed down at all, just very difficult and sloppy.  We toyed w/ the idea of turning around multiple times, to go back and get the snowshoes. Finally at about 22 minutes in/up, Ryan turned and suggested we go back, get the snowshoes, and then just go up and do the Osceolas instead (which I also needed).  I immediately agreed.   We turned and unfortunately had to head back the way we came.  44 or so minutes total on that sloppy mess.  We hadn't even reached the trail junction which was only 1.8 up. I'm  guessing we were close though.

When we got back, we grabbed the shoes and hopped in Ryan's car for the quick 1 min. ride around the hairpin to the Greeley Ponds Trailhead.  The trail had some snowshoe activity on it, so it made it WAY easier to run on.  Also, the fact we were using the snowshoes really helped prevent the constant breaking through and postholing.  The snow was good and deep and the only thing difficult about the lower section was the bog bridges (which had a lot of deep, heavy snow around and on them) and the occasional breaking through down into some big pools of water under the snow).   We ran up to the 1.3 mile mark junction of the Greeley Ponds Trail and Mt. Osceola Trail and hopped on for a hike up to East Osceola (4156 feet) then a run/hike across to Mt. Osceola (4340 feet).  It was a GRIND but the weather was awesome and the snow got better as we went up.  I bagged my #s 31 and 32 for the 4000'ers.  The view from E.Osceola is non-existant because it's a forested summit.  The views from Osceola were obscured by the storm, so there wasn't much to see but it was awesome getting out and always great to be on the trails and in the high peaks.

On the way back down, we rocked.  I have some great footage I'm piecing together of the trip.  I put up part 1, which is the Ascent.  I have a lot more to go.  It was so fun coming back down and almost skiing on the Dions!

In the end, we finished up w/ a total time of 2:53:02 including the few miles + we did on the way up to the Hancocks before we bailed.  A good solid 3 hours for near 12 miles of snowshoe running and climbing.  I also got some more redlining in as well, which is always good!  The only thing that bothered me was my heel.  I had a massive blister on my heel spur from the strap on the snowshoe.  I've gotten it each time this year.  I'll have to put some padding back there for racing and for the next time I decide to go out for a 3 hour snowshoe.... Good times....can't beat it.

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