Mt. Flume (4328)

Trail: Lincoln Woods Tr. to Osseo Tr.

Date: Sunday 9/23/00

Attending: Gary, Shawn, Ralph, Gabe, Simone and John

Miles: 11 Time: 7.25 hours round trip

AMC huts, / shelters / camping site:

Weather: Cloudy, 60’s at the base, 30’s on the summit, rain the return trip.

“Climb steadily, slowly, enjoy each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax to the journey.” Joe Porcino

How could someone have asked for more? All of our favorite hiking partners, Gary Gilchrest, Shawn White, Ralph Chicoine, Gabe, Simone & me. A wonderful trail! An awesome summit! Temps in the low 60’s, COLD driving wind and rain on the peak, (we were all prepared for this), and a gentle shower for most of the return hike; Topped with a high cloud ceiling, affording us interesting views of all of the surrounding mountains.

Another spectacular hike in the Whites. #38. The Osseo trail is an absolute must hike trail. Nowhere in the Whites is there another trail quite so impeccably well maintained. What a pleasure to hike. Shawn hiked the trail in his running sneakers and Simone hiked the entire trail in her hiking sandals. I want to be careful that I don’t imply that this hike as an easy hike. Osseo climbs steadily along it’s 4.1 mile length, and the elevation is substantial, 3150ft. The total round trip mileage is at the upper limits of our day hike capabilities, 11 miles, but this trail has a way of making all those things as pleasant as any trail in the Whites. At every location where the trail could present a section of difficult footing, there is a rock staircase. And where other trails would have you rock scrambling through eroded bolder paths, this trail has lengths of wooden staircases. I can’t confirm this, but I do not contest it; it was published on the internet that between rock & wooden steps, this trail has 396 stairs. All of which lead you to one of the most striking summit peaks in the Whites. The Flume is an awesome peak open 360 degrees. The summit affords one of the most unique views of the Franconia range and the Pemigewassett wilderness; and the short ledge section to the peak is fantastic!

The cloud ceiling was just hovering at the tops of the high peaks and

the views were limited to 30 miles under a dark sky, but we loved it. The wind was near 40Mph and it started to rain just after we got to the summit. Our return trip was in and out of a moderate rain, but the hike back was another treat. Other than the rock & wood steps the rest of the trail is soft forest floor. We hiked as speedily and comfortably as we have on any trail we’ve ever hiked. The AMC guide estimated 4.25 hours to the summit, we hiked it in 3.45 and the return trip took just over 3 hours. 11 miles, in 7hrs and 15min. with a 15 minute stay on the summit and a few much needed breaks along the way. (Not bad for trail snails.)

A note for future hikes. Although the Osseo trail follows very close along a river, it does so from several hundred feet above it so filtering water along the way is a difficult proposition. We did it, but the trip to the river is down and up a long steep embankment. (Best to pack all the fluid you’ll need for the entire trip.) There is a nice but illegal site (right on the side of the trail) within 1/2 mile from the summit of the peak. It looks very heavily used and recent people that used this trail didn’t know much about low impact camping.

A note of interest: We noticed a berry we’ve never seen before. It formed a cluster of 15 to 20 white glossy berries at the top of the plant. Each berry was on it’s own thick red stem about 1 inch long, branching out from the main trunk of the 2ft. tall plant. Each branch contained a berry, and was about 1/2 inch away from the next stem up the trunk. According to “The Audubon Society’s Guide to Wildflowers”, this is the “very poisonous” White Baneberry.

A comment by Gary about “Why Hike?” He loves the social aspect of the hike. I agree! In what other situation can people get together and have continual conversations for hours on end, about anything, everything, and nothing in particular at all? Where it’s just as OK to not say anything as it is to say something. Where you can share thoughts that might never elsewhere surface. Where a nucleus group share in a physical challenge, place their safety and even life in the partnership formed at the trailhead. Where personal goals, even shared goals, are second to the groups needs. Where else can holes in someone’s sweater, pain in someone’s feet, and the reward for one of the hardest days you’ve faced is a 3 hour ride in the stinky’ist 20 cubic feet known to man, make you a brotherhood. It’s good stuff. Where else can you share day old cake kept in the trunk of a car, eaten with your hands while standing in a parking lot and feel like the luckiest people alive!

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