Weekend Recap: Sunapee & Liberty/Flume

 

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.

Sunapee with Winnie. She kept looking uncertainly at the chairs on the chair lift. It was a beautiful, cool fall day at the resort.

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.

Almost to Liberty, looking north to Lincoln on Franconia Ridge Trail.

The summit rocks of Liberty took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.

My first glance at Liberty – a stunning rock pile

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.

Sitting on top of Flume looking south and loving my Altra trail runners.

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. 

NH 4000 Footer Grid 2018 KL

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