Garfield Trail is the perfect trail and the Mount Garfield is the perfect mountain. Water is abundant thanks to all the rain the last few days. The trail is medium difficult the entire way so I sweated but not that much. The views from the top are magnificent.
All the hikers on the trail were kind and interesting. One woman at the top finished her 48 peaks today! So impressed. One of her hiking mates was on her second round, hiking #19 today. All dogs were friendly and CUTE! I had great conversations with a few people about 4,000 footers and hiking buddies.
The last .2 miles to the top were pretty icy and a bit scary so it’s time to buy some spikes and start carrying them with me for every hike now.
Coming back down the icy .2 miles, I have to say, it was nice being behind 10 people as they slowly descended; I felt safe from falling. Winnie did great on the ice although most the time I couldn’t watch the path she took.
I’m excited to finished #44 of the 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire.
Now all that is left is Hancock North, Cabot, Waumbek and Owl’s Head. Hancock I can do in a few hours, and Cabot/Waumbek I’ll finish next weekend. I’m still hoping to do Owl’s Head with Cheryl before the end of the month. I’m guessing Owl’s Head will be the last, and the most dreaded but still hopeful it will surprise me and be wonderful.
On Saturday Winnie and I hiked to the top of Mount Sunapee. The trail was pretty wet and muddy from all the rain. The streams were flowing and Winnie had fun playing in both water and mud.
We saw a lot of people on the trail and Winnie swam in Lake Solitude. Winnie was beat for the rest of the day. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be taking her to the hike scheduled for Sunday: Flume.
I hiked the Liberty Spring Trail to the Franconia Ridge Trail. The trail passed over Liberty and then I reached Mount Flume in 2 hours 30 minutes. I saw a few hikers on the trail going up and about 10 trail runners coming down. I hoped that I would be running down, too.
I tried to run as much as I could but the trail was 75% rock with large roots thrown in for good measure. Once I passed Liberty Spring tent sites I could hear the wind and it got pretty cold. I put on a warmer jacket and a beanie. I didn’t realize that the Franconia Ridge Trail is an exposed ridge only on the northern section that is closer to Lincoln and Lafayette. This part of the ridge was wooded and smelled of pine.
The summit rocks of Liberty took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.
The rock pile seems to rise out of the ground and trees. According to my AMC White Mountain Guide Twenty-fourth edition I hiked Liberty in 1988 and 1991 but don’t remember. I did note that on the 1991 trip I took the same trail starting on the Whitehouse trail. I’m so glad I kept that book over the years. I knew I’d be back to finish all the 4,000 footers.
About 15 people took pictures and hung out on the summit of Liberty. I don’t stop and continued hiking south to Flume; I passed about 10 people headed to Liberty.
Since my PI trail shoes were still soaked from yesterday’s hike in the mud at Sunapee I wore my new, not-yet-worn Altra trail running shoes. It was a risk to wear them on this important bag-a-4,000-peak hike but they turned out to be perfect. They got a bit beat up on the rocks and roots, and managed to stay comfortable the entire time.
I did like the Liberty Springs Trail despite feeling like I walked up stairs for miles on end. As my thoughts started to wander through the sometimes monotonous terrain, I thought about the Grid and wondered if I might try to do it: hike all 4,000 footers in every month.
Sunday’s Total mileage: just about 10 miles round trip. I’m pretty beat and not sure I’d want to do that hike in every month, but I’ve been thinking about winter hiking and with the right instruction I might give it a try.
Now I’m down to six remaining 4,000 footers: N. Hancock, Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield, N. Twin and Owl’s Head. My plan is to finish them by the end of October. November is too risky with the potential of ice and snow on the trails. I’m hoping that Winnie will hike Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield and N. Twin; the other two are too rocky and long.
Foliage Update: The leaves in northern New Hampshire are just about starting to turn. Next weekend they will be at their peak colors.
Today I hiked to South Hancock and checked off number 40 of the 48 4,000 footers in NH. I thought it was 41 but I miscounted the number of peaks left. I didn’t hike the loop trail that would have given me 40 and 41 because the last half mile to the peak did me in. It was so steep and it was so humid and I was short on time.
I’m glad we turned around yesterday on the trail because the loop trail close to the summit is no place for a dog. Maybe after more practice. The Hancock Loop trail is spectacular and as I’m building up my hiking legs I’m hoping to finish the remaining peaks this year.
I met an interesting woman on the trail today, Jill. She is what is called a Grid hiker, someone who climbs every 4,000 footer in each month of the year. She is 58 years old and hikes primarily by herself although she does have two male friends also Grid hikers who sometime join her when they need to check one off. One of her friends hiked Waumbek today and she didn’t need it for September so she did North and South Hancock. She said she tries to find different trails to each peak. I thought it would be interesting to really get to know one trail, hiking it 12 times, but she liked the variety of different trails.
Winnie did great on the hike to South Hancock. There were several stream crossing and a few times she had to lay in the river to cool down. The trail was magnificent and a nice hike until the last mile to South Hancock when it was a good climb.