Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mt. Flume & Mt. Liberty - 5-30-11

Summit of Mt. Flume
Memorial Day 2011 was a beautiful day for a hike. I had peaked 16 and 17 the day before in Field and Willey, and I was ready for more. I left the Flume Visitor Parking lot at 7:40am up the Whitehouse Trail. It is .9 miles to the Liberty Spring Trail, and the another .6 just to get the Flume Slide Trail. It was interesting when I connected with the paved Whitehouse Trail, but it is well signed so it was clear where to go. Once I left the misting river I saw from the bridge, I was into the woods. When I arrived at the Flume Slide Trail, I had already hiked 1.5 miles. It was easy, but still, another good chunk of mileage to go.

The Flume Slide became my favorite 3.4 miles of this quest so far. I was enjoying the rolling terrain and really going at a good pace. In my opinion, and compared to other trails, it appeared less traveled and overgrown in some areas, which made the hike feel like an adventure. The sun was beaming through the trees and near one of the river crossing, the mist of the river and sun combined to create a new favorite picture. 

The trail began to steepen a lot. I was faced with rock slabs with blue blazes painted on it. Ok, so I guess this means this is trail? On top of that this part of the trail was wet and had some trickling of water down it on most sections of rock. It was fun and challenging, but the paths of least resistance up the rocks were fairly clear, so that was helpful. There were certainly some spots where I had to be sure-footed with my feet or make double sure I had a grip on the rock above.

It was already pretty hot, and it was getting hotter. I had just come out of the trees and was excited to my reach my 18th summit in this quest. The views from Flume were tremendous.

I headed into the woods on the Franconia Ridge Trail. The section between Flume and Liberty descends gradually and easily for a while, but then steepens as you realize you're now heading up Liberty. With the easy grades on this trail, I went into a slight jog and a skip. As I approached the final ascent, it reminded me of the rock scrambles on Monadnock. I reached the summit of Mt. Liberty, my 19th peak this year. The views were even better from here, especially looking back at Flume's slides, which are very impressive in person. I completed the 4.6 miles to and over Flume and to the summit of Liberty in 3 hours and 40 minutes. I've now hiked the summits that line Franconia Ridge, and I now have an understanding of why it is a favorite in the whites.
I had the liberty of enjoying the views from Liberty (ha ha) as I relaxed for about 20 minutes while I had my lunch and some water. As it was Memorial Day, liberty, whether you're thinking about political or personal liberty, either is not possible without the sacrifices of those who have fought or currently fight to protect our country. After my nice break, I was ready to head down the Liberty Springs. My legs were feeling great so I proceeded to move quickly on my descent. I passed the Liberty Spring Tent site and snapped a few pictures there. It seems like it would be a fun place to stay some night. I continued on quickly, passing several groups of hikers on the way up the Liberty Spring. Although I made it to the bridge at the Whitehouse trail, there was still a little bit more to go (.9mi). I came out of the woods at the Flume Visitor center at 1:30pm. This trip was was one of my favorites. With the great weather on this trip, I hope for more, as the chase for 48 is being shifted into high gear.

Hike Stats
Trails: Whitehouse Trail, Flume Slide Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, Liberty Springs Trail
Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 3700 feet
Book Time: 5:50 (including my lunch)

Below is my photo album for this trip:


  1. Awesome report and great pictures. Really looking forward to doing the Flume Slide some day. Also, congrats on 21 I guess you're up to now! Hale is a great family friendly mountain. Keep it up!

  2. Thanks Owen! The Flume Slide was certainly a fun challenge. I was surprised actually at the steepness.