Saturday, November 5, 2011

#4 & # 5 Liberty (4459') & Flume (4328’) November 5, 2011

#4 & # 5 Liberty (4459') & Flume (4328’) November 5, 2011: 
10.2 miles,  4,250 ft elevation gain,  7:15 Book time.  My time 10.5 hrs;  06:30(still dark)  – 17:00 (day light)

Took the White House Trail (.5 mile mistake)  to the Liberty Spring trail to the Franconia Ridge trail to Liberty then Flume and back.  Should have taken the bike path from the parking area to the Liberty Trail.  Particularly since I started after dark and with many leaves and no snow it was hard to follow.  The white house trail meets up with the bike path after .5 miles of winding path through narrow woods.

Chose this day because it was warm (>30 deg) and the day after several days of freeze.  It was getting warmer the next few days but that would mean mud.  Expected to see snow at the bottom but no snow, snow started at ~ 3500 ft and increased to the top but never very deep and well broken out. Though only 4 days after Moosilauke this was a completely different hike. Liberty doesn’t have the thick fir trees of Moosilauke so it’s all bare hardwood trees (elm, maple, birch) with many leaves on the ground.  Better views of mountains behind you (Moosilauke etc) going up but not that impressive through bare trees.  The beginning seemed more like a hike through winter woods then on a mountain.  First hour is near level ground. Then comes a 1000+ ft straight arduous staircase of rocks, nothing difficult, but unending and boring.

Along the ridge is much more scenic and interesting. Both mountains have very steep final peaks that actually seem a bit dangerous.  Liberty peak seems like massive boulders on top of a hill. Flume peak seems more like a rocky ridge with a sharp (100 ft+) drop off.  I decided to do this as a turnaround rather than a loop because they say flume slide trail up is very difficult in the winter. This was confirmed by the few hikers I met that went that way and said they had to pull themselves up hand over hand grabbing onto tree roots on the edge of the flat rocks that define the trail (the guide books say that the AMC people have deliberately put logs in the way  off trail routes to discourage bushwhacking I'm not sure if I believe that.)

                I learned on this hike  to avoid multiple summit turnaround hikes, particular when higher peaks come first, and there is a low col between peaks because you end up summiting twice on the same mountain(s).

        There was one interesting aspect of the hike; coming off Liberty going toward Flume there is a large shelf rock that you need to slide down. Coming back, its close to a rock climbing event getting back up it, particularly with the snow/ice covering. An ice axe may have been handy.

 All and all the view from the peaks was the only really desirable part of this hike.  It had a longer distance and greater ascent height than my first two hikes and I felt it.


Liberty Springs campsite.

Liberty Springs campsite.

Liberty Springs campsite.

Junction with Franconia Ridge



Peak of Liberty

#4 Liberty

Top of Flume

#5 Flume

Flume Ridge looking South.

Tough rock to climb back over to Liberty from South side

micro spikes - a great invention. easy-on easy-off traction
Hard to believe that I was still hiking in Jeans then. Hadn't learned that "Cotton Kills" yet.

small snowman


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#3 Moosilauke (4802'), November 1, 2011

11/1/2011 (my 63rd Birthday)  Mt. Moosilauke (4802’ AMC #10)

Started at Ravine Lodge (Ravine road not yet snowed in). Took Gorge Brook trail up, down Carriage Rd Trail to Snapper Trail (did not break off to summit south peak of Moosilauke.

7.5 miles, 2,450 ft elevation gain, book time:  5:00 Book
My time 7.5 hours 06:30 (½ hour before daybreak) - 14:00

Gorge Brook trail very scenic along water (crossing brook 2-3 times then through the pines).

Weather:  Clear,  zero wind, 30– 50 degrees 2-4 “ snow on bottom 6-12” with some 3’ drifts . Near summit, had single set of prints (post holes?) through them, and snow blown off of most of summit. Excellent views from Summit.

Saw no one on the way up. At 3500 ft in snow and pines with no wind it was the quietest spot I think I have ever been. Trail well broken out near bottom but at the top there was only 2-3 sets of prints in the snow probably from the day before. Three hikers came to summit from Carriage Rd side shortly after I got there.  I  also, met one guy nd his dog coming up carriage trail as I was going down.

Hike was fairly easy and I took it slow, first hike with my treking poles, I will never hike without them again.  I believe it made it much easier on my knees.  Also, first hike with my new  hiking boots.  I also found that they are not really water proof, could have used gators for going through the drifts.
 I think the mistake I made on my first hike was to hike too fast (meaning almost the same as most people) then getting too short of breath and having to sit a long time to recover.  This hike I tried to adjust my pace slow enough so that I didn't get too short of breath and have to stop.  I didnt know it then but this is really were I became "1slowhiker".

Excellent hike, I would do it again.  Mouselauke will remain near tthe top of my "do it again after 48 list"

started at O-dark-30
It took a while to find the start of the trail.

pointing back down the trail with one of my new poles

Rime ice encrusted cairn.

Views from the top:

On the way down Carriage Rd trail.