A Spirited Hike to Mt. Liberty
Hiking/Walk DATE: 02/09/2019 - 02/09/2019
Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH
Trip Leader(s): Robert.L
Max # People: 8
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Mt. Liberty is a dynamic summit. The ascent is not particularly rugged; rather, it is a steady climb up and gives the heart, lungs and head a chance to get some crisp winter air deep inside your...
Directions: From routes 93 North or South take the exit for The Basin parking lot on the 93 Northbound side of the highway. I will be driving a gray Honda CRV.
Wicked, Wild and Windy – just the way I like it. What a robust and energizing day to be outside experiencing the elements under a spectacular blue sky day – the best!
Saturday morning David B., David J., James and I all took to the highway on a rather chilly morning to meet up at The Basin parking lot for a hike. We all arrived at the trail head by 9am and by 9:15 were headed up the snowmobile trail to the trail junction. It was a cold morning!!
The drive up was uneventful other than being tossed about on the highway by strong winds. I was rather hoping that once we scooted into the tree line we would be protected – LOL – not so much on this day. The hike up was indeed spirited – we made it to the summit by 11:40am – no joke. This was a tough day to be social on the trail. The winds whipped all during the ascent. First it was strong and loud overhead with an occasional gust at ground level, then it became louder with the sound of cracking trees making you wonder… will they stand? By the time we reached the tent site the blowing winds were routinely against our backs. We had a kept a steady and strong pace to the top and at least for me – it was needed to keep warm – no sweating on this ascent.
Once beneath the summit we paused to layer up – damn that was a tough one – I honestly didn’t think my hands would warm up! All layered up we headed for the summit. Sure enough – it was icy – slick and beautiful. We had made the decision to hike up without snow shoes. The weather has been mixed in the whites but trail condition reports noted a very hard surface so the risk of post holing was likely low. The trail conditions proved to be true most of the way up except for some minor drifting. We did post hole a few times where the drifts hid the trail – but otherwise – we skittled on up to the top.
I had my crampons – LOVE THEM – and the others had their micro spikes. We were well prepped. Once on the summit we didn’t linger – winds were strong. I snapped photos with little concern at where I was pointing. The summit was iced over and within a few minutes I started to lead the group over the back side of the summit. Sure enough – more ice. We got down low enough to get out of the wind and had a brief group check in. My crampons were stellar – it was a bit trickier with micro spikes. After a brief discussion we made the decision to carry on. Once over the tricky section – the trail was brilliant. Unlike the ascent, I would have liked my snow shoes for this stretch. There had been a lot of drifting. Despite the easy path, snow depths range from a hard trail to 12 inches with something attuned to 6 to 8 inches most of the way.
In between the summits we got a real reprieve from the wind. Here we paused more frequently and enjoyed a bit of social time. We lunched then carried forward. Soon after passing the low point the winds started to kick in – and kick our butts they did. All the way up to flume they were getting stronger and louder. Tree cracking thunderous roars. Very soon we were summiting Flume and we were hanging on to small trees to stay reasonably straight, lol. I loved it. We couldn’t stay. We couldn’t stand to take photos, we couldn’t look into the winds, and it was honestly the strongest winds I’ve ever experienced. We quickly skirted down but the winds were on us until we reached the bottom. They had been blowing at our backs on the way up – I knew we’d get slammed for a short bit back on the descent.
Soon enough we passed the low point and again calmness returned. We casually hiked back over to Liberty where we had an enjoyable few minutes on the summit without any gusts . That didn’t last. Scooting back to the trail head – more ice. Everyone took their time descending and before long we were well on our way back to where we started. Up to this point we had seen no one on the trail. We had been the sole hikers of the day from Liberty to Flume and back. On the descent we bumped into two hiking mates who were going to set up camp at the tent site. We wished them a warm evening, lol.
The pictures are few. I was taking them with my gloves on – some just didn’t click – I’m not so great with my camera in the winter but at least this time the memory card was in the proper way, lol.
We carried on downward and by 3:15pmish we were back at the cars. Crazy day – 11 miles inside six hours – that was pretty quick – and I let David B., James and David J. lead most of the way. It was – very much indeed – a spirited hike to the top!
Sunday was a stay at home day. Soleil (my greyhound) needed a bit of me and I decided to bake strawberry scones and make a cream of broccoli soup with the chicken stock I made the week before – all too yummy. I better hit the trail hard in the weeks to come – I’m bound to pack on a pound or two eating all of that, lol.
Cheers gents – see you on the trails!!
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