Mt Liberty

(4459)

Trail: Liberty Springs trail (part of the AT)

Date: Wednesday 9/16/98

Attending: Gabe, Simone, & John Chicoine

Miles: 6.4-mile back and fourth Time: 4 hours to summit. 6.5 hour total.

AMC huts, / shelters / camping site: Liberty Springs tent site.

Weather: Cool and clear fall day, with a slight breeze on the summit

To get to the trail go to the Liberty Springs Trailhead just past the Flume Visitors Center off Rt3. You start hiking on the Whitehouse trail .4mi. (Crossing the tar bike path on the bridge over the Pemigawsset River). (Great foot washing spot). Once on Liberty Springs, the trail meanders (kind of boring) for a while then starts the relentless 3000-Ft. stair step to the summit. It's just one rock step after the other. Never ending, no views, except for the one at the Liberty Springs Tent site. This was our first encounter of Gray Jays. I coined the name "Mountain Pigeons".

This trail reminded us of the White Cross trail on Mt Monadnock, (only 3 times as long) After the tent site, it's more monotonous stair stepping to the summit. You join the Franconia Ridge Trail for .3miles to the summit of liberty. The top is great! It's a rock pinnacle that juts out over Rt3. looking south forever. The Flume is the mountain in the background. We met an interesting elderly (retired) lady who was touring the country with her husband in an RV; they were hiking various trails throughout the north country. She was hiking this one solo so she was in a hurry to get back to her husband waitng in the RV. She could only aptly described as a "Mrs. Doubtfire meets the Flume Slide" kind of lady. She was quite surprised at the trail she had just hiked as being one of the Recommended 50 Great Hikes in New Hampshire, from the book of the same name. She had just climbed up the Flume Slide over Franconia Ridge and around the loop to Mt. Liberty summit. She had visited the Flume visitors center and the rangers kept trying to herd her into one of the old-folks bus tours of the flume. She wouldn't have anything to do with that. She blew past the disapproving Rangers and just headed UP. She was going to the summit of the Flume and no young whippersnapper was going to get in her way. She was so cool! After only a few moments rest to catch her breath and a have quick sandwich, off she headed down the Liberty Springs trail. We left the summit just a few moments after her, expecting for sure to meet up with her somewhere down the trail but we never did; what a lady. Liberty Springs has an old leg of the current trail, close to the bottom of the mountain, that travels straight towards Rt.93, but the new trail branches at 90-degrees to the left. Gabe got ahead of us out of sight and followed the old trail stepping over the hardly noticeable log meant to divert traffic. We of course branched left at that point. After a few moments Simone realized Gabe was no longer ahead of us on the trail. Gabe was lost! Just for a moment or two. But he was lost. Fortunately he realized the trail seemed to be a bit over grown and he began to back track to meet back up with us. When he got to the branch section, he could hear us calling for him, but we were really shouting. At that point, you can hear the traffic on Rt.93 and head for it, but the real trail takes you south along side Rt.93 for another mile to the parking lot. If you did try to take the old bushwack branch of the trail out, you would have to wade across the Pemigewasset River.