Our group decided to stay at Russell Pond Campground located on Tripoli Road just off the I93. This campground offers flush toilets, showers, waterfront and quiet private camping. The short commute to many hikes from this campground is also an attractive reason to stay at this campground. Tripoli road also offers road side camping for cheaper but with limited facilities.
Four months prior to this hike I had knee surgery and was eager to test out my new and improved knee. That said, being uncertain of how the knee would react (especially on the descents) made me a bit nervous on this hike.
Starting at 8:15 AM from the parking lot on Tripoli Road, ($5 day parking fee), at a elevation of around 2200' . We set off up the gradual but rocky ascent up to Mount Osceola. The trail is well shaded and has a manageable grade the entire distance. My husband Glenn was part of our group and begun the hike at a slow pace due to an ankle injury. After 1600' of climbing and dodging rock boulders, he threw in the towel and turned around. That left two of us to head the rest of the way to the summit which we reached at 10:15 AM. The summit ledge from this peak is outstanding with beautiful views on sunny days like we had. We quickly identified our next objective from this summit and went on our way.
The trail over to East Osceola is fairly straight forward except for one section called the Chimney. I hadn't read any trip reports or trail descriptions for this hike so I was surprised to hear the nervousness in many hiker's voices as they approached this section and asked us about how treacherous it was. The section is steep rocky section that can be up or downclimbed in about 4 moves. Being a climber this section wasn't even an issue for me but for others I can see it might be scary. We chose the left route when coming from Mount Osceola.
The summit of East Osceola is treed and there is a rock cairn to indicate the summit. A trail coming from Greely ponds comes up from North side. We took a snack break here with a mother and daughter group before our 40 minute return trip back to Mount Osceola. On the return trip we chatted with a young woman who is a nurse from Long Lake area in the Adirondacks and we had a good chat about Adirondack hiking.
Crowds were starting to build on the summit of Mount Osceola upon our return with many people enjoying the views in various states of dress. Many were fully clothed but some were airing out their footwear and one had even taken off her pants! We took a quick drink break and headed down the trail to meet up with Glenn who was waiting in the car. My knee had no problem with this descent and I was pleased that I could be fully confident hiking mountains once again. We met a few more characters on the way down an saw some unprepared groups hiking with little to no gear or water on a hot summer's day. We returned to parking lot at 1:15 PM making it a 5 hour day.
Distance: 12.93km/8.0 miles
Elevation gain: 2862 ft
Time: 5 hours