Judging by a number of TR's, Tecumseh always struck me as a dull hike and “meh” for views, but the WMG description seemed to indicate otherwise. I have planned this hike probably 8 times now. Something always came up and got in the way, eventually driving me into a frenzied (and swear-ridden) obsession. Three of these times were just within this week, and driving up, I waited for the other shoe (or deer) to drop and stop me again. But my spirits were great as every peak I could see was in the clear, with no hint of clouds. Arriving, I geared up feeling out of place (story of my life) amongst all the skiers.
I found a well packed-out trail. So I stowed the shoes with some disappointment, yanked out the spikes and enjoyed the beautiful open woods and abundant sunshine. All crossings were a piece of cake, and I emerged out on on the ski slope viewpoint and was already impressed with the view from the Osceolas over to the Sleepers, especially the unique view of a whole bunch of Osceola bumps and the full frontal close-up of the Tripyramids. West Osceola looked super sexy.
From here, the climb wore on me, but little glimpses of the summit ledge were visible, and the sounds of the ski area finally faded. Happily emerging on the ridge. I threw on the shoes, and had a pleasant walk to the middle Sosman/Tecumseh junction, where the Tecumseh Trail leading right had a solitary snowshoe track. Wanting to do the full loop, I went that way, filling in the unbroken spots and had little trouble save for snow now melting off the trees and a couple of very small steep spots. A hint of a possible view off trail near the top only yielded me wearing a white, not green, fleece.
I came to the lookout ledge with very little of the winds that kept us off Madison and Adams today and spent some time enjoying the views from the Carters all the way over to Whiteface. Well, jeez, nothing wrong with this.
I tried finding a more northerly view with little success, only spying some very limited views of Big George. A little disturbing, however, was hearing a chopper somewhere to the west, to eventually see it fly off to the east and see it was indeed the Guard's rescue chopper.
I had hoped to hit Welch-Dickey after this, but given the amount of time to get here, I knew that was out and now it was time to just slow down and enjoy. So off to the summit. Oh, it's right there above the ledge. Way to slow down, Salty...
So, down on the Sosman to the next view, giving me some good stuff to the east. What a gorgeous view day. Ascutney appeared to be rising out of the Connecticut River valley fog, the Cardigan ledges were quite clear, Mansfield's white cap stood right out, and I really liked the view of the bulky mass of Moosilauke from this angle.
Back to the lower Sosman junction, and off I went towards the slopes. This was not so broken out, in some spots it only appeared one barebooter had been through. Climbing up the bump on this trail, I was now treated to views north and west. I especially liked the view of Garfield rising behind Owl's Head. The only thing missing was the Bonds.
From here, the trail got all Twilight Zone on me. There were a lot of bareboot prints and holes. Almost as if people ridden or hiked to the top of the lifts, came this far and turned around. Maybe the other section was just well drifted, but I was expecting Rod Serling to pop out at any time. A nice walk to the top of the slopes for the next phase of my hike. Butt sliding time! Sort of. My first attempt was to show proper etiquette by staying to the side. Too far to the side, right on ungroomed ice. Uh oh. GPS said I went 10 mph, way too fast for my liking, and fortunately a patch of drifted snow put an end to a near uncontrolled slide. I generally kept to trails on the right, and only one other slide presented itself. Oh well, so much for that. I had a few pleasant conversations with some skiers, one dad showing his kids all my equipment. Except for my poles. Crap! Lost them again! I'm going to staple them to my wrists from now on.
Making quick time down, about half way I spied a lodge. Ohhhhhh, this is too good to be true. In I went, got myself a Long Trail, and plopped myself down in the warm sun on a bench outside. One guy remarked “Nowwww, that's the way to do it!” and we shared a few laughs at my good fortune. He said he expected to find me there in a couple of hours. Mmmmm, tempting. My, oh my, ski areas rock. Where else can you get a beer during a hike and not even have to pack it out? I thoroughly enjoyed this mountain. Yeah, it's not one of the Grand View mountains, but it's certainly no slouch. Life is good!