the crown jewels of the Franconia Ridge trail
Ever since I did the loop hike of Lafayette, Lincoln, and Little Haystack, I've been wanting to go back to that area and go up Liberty and Flume. I've always liked the shape of Mt. Liberty when viewed from afar, or from the road. It makes you want to hike it. And if you've come this far, then why not go to Mt. Flume as well.
Okay now this TR and pictures you see come from September of '07, but it was not my first attempt. I went there about a month earlier, and I came back with nothing to show for it, but more miles put on the car. I drove up there overnight, and was all set for an early climb. I started up the Liberty Springs trail, and was making great progress when the unthinkable happened. I was crossing this little stream when I slipped and got one side of myself all wet. What the f&^k! At least my camera was in my other pocket. I had no change of clothes, and it was still a bit chilly; so I went back to the car to dry off. I was too distracted mentally though. I ended up just driving home and said I'll be back another day.
I should have just waited to dry off, but I was so annoyed. I have done some hard water crossings too in NH. The ones on the North Twin trail, and the ones on the Falling Waters trail when the water was HIGH. Yet this little rinky dinky stream gets me! Ugh. The shame.
Enough of that though. About a month later somehow my day off from work got switched, and it occurred during a dream forecast. Perfect temperatures, clear skies, and no wind for days. The stream would not get me this time I vowed! I went up to my cheap Motel6 in VT the night before, got up early and was back again before Liberty and Flume.
It really was the best weather day of the year probably in NH. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and there was NO WIND. I'm not joking, nothing. I remember too looking on the SP forums a couple of days later and saw that one of the southern guys, either Bob Smith or e-doc, posting something about how they saw that the Mt. Washington web cam was showing 0 mph wind. (It was Bob Smith. If you look back far enough in the threads you'll see it. Actually it was 1 mph.) When I reached the campsite on the way back I ran into the caretaker, and he said that this has been the best weather all year by far, and he noticed how he hasn't heard the wind at all like he usually does.
Liberty and Flume is a great hike. It's just right. It's no cake walk and it's nothing too crazy.
you will lose the staring contest
The colors of the fall were just starting to creep in, making everything look just a bit better. It was so sunny that it messed with a lot of my photos. Many photos were so overblown, but I think I got some good ones too.
A couple of interesting things happened that I want to set down. The first one I mentioned before in a thread here on SP. I ran across a spruce grouse. CharlesD came up with the ID in the thread. They're some pretty big birds! They startle you too. I found that they show no fear of you. If you want to have a staring contest with one of them be prepared to spend some time.
The other thing that occurred I wish I had a photo of. It would have been the BEST photo! I was just coming down Mt. Flume when I get under some tree cover and I hear this loud jet sound. It was too loud and too close. I thought right away that a plane was going to crash into the mountain. Right now! Crazy. It's coming closer and fast. All these thoughts are racing through my head when I hear the jets really kick in. I look up and see an A-10 fighter plane go by. It buzzed the mountain! It was flying almost sideways too. I could clearly see the cockpit and the outline of the pilot. I was just on the summit too! Man it would have been a great photo. I would have seen it coming. He was so close. I've never seen a fighter plane flying that low before. Anyone else ever experience this?
On the way back I ran into a guy on Mt. Liberty and asked if he heard it. He did, and he didn't seem that surprised. I never heard of that sort of thing before in NH. It was pretty cool.
Take some time to enjoy the photos, and if you can ID some mountains please do so, or tell me if I got something wrong.
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