Sunday, October 19, 2014

Liberty and Flume - October 5, 2014

My friend Pam and I had been talking about a Franconia Ridge traverse for several weeks, and with a good weather forecast we decided to give it a shot. This time, though, we would be going South to North, and hopefully up Flume Slide. But with all the rain that fell overnight, we opted to play it safe and head up the Liberty Springs Trail instead. This would mean an out-and-back to Flume from Liberty, which has never been a favorite of mine, and then the long ascent up to Little Haystack and the rest of Franconia Ridge. We spotted the car as planned, and decided to just see how the day would go, especially given we got a late start.

Starting off from The Basin, we headed South on the bike path, looking for the start of the shortcut to the Liberty Springs Trail. I had a GPS track of when I'd done it in winter a few years back, but of course in winter some routes are viable that aren't as pleasant without frozen ground. After a couple of false starts, we headed in at a likely-looking spot, which soon petered out. Luckily, the woods are fairly open in this area, and we just cut in the direction of the trail, soon intersecting the old road that the shortcut follows. A short while later, and we were on the Liberty Springs Trail at the hairpin turn about a half-mile from its start. From here, it was a relentless, steady climb to the Liberty Springs Tentsite and then the junction on the ridge with the Franconia Ridge Trail.

A random arrow in the woods as we bushwhacked to the herd path shortcut

Franconia Ridge in the clouds

The summit crags of Mount Liberty

Some nice color in the Pemi valley still

Taking the right turn to Liberty, we were soon at the summit, just as the clouds were breaking up for the day, and the winds were dying off. We took a short break here, but with a lot of miles and climbing still in front of us, we soon headed off on the drop to the col between Liberty and Flume, where we ran into our friend Keith, who was doing Liberty and Flume today. It was great to see Keith, it had been a long time, and after we all chatted for a while, we climbed the steady climb up to Mount Flume. Once again, our stay was brief.

A valley of gold below Mount Flume

Mount Liberty from Mount Flume

The summit cliffs of Mount Flume

Mount Moosilauke

Liberty from Flume

The Bonds
As we headed back to Liberty, a check of the time made me realize this was going to be a very late night getting home if we were to go all the way to Lafayette. Truthfully, I was also a bit tired from pushing so hard the day before. So, I talked the others into relaxing for an hour or so on Liberty instead and then grabbing a bite before we headed South for work in the morning. With a beautiful afternoon, it was awesome to just relax on a summit for a long time and enjoy the day.

Franconia Ridge

Mount Garfield

Pano over the Pemi

The Owl's Head slide

Cannon and the Cannonballs

Nancy, Anderson, Vose Spur, and Carrigain (L->R)

Stairs Mountain, Kersarge North, and Mount Resolution (L->R)

Owl's Head, with the Twins and Bonds in the back

A crowd on Lincoln (and Lafayette - background)

Mount Garfield
We made quick work of the descent back to The Basin, retrieved the car, and headed into Lincoln for dinner, just managing to find a table before the big crowds started. With a great weekend in the books, I was even able to get home at a somewhat-reasonable hour for once.

No comments:

Post a Comment