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 Running the Ridge - Franconia 
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 Running the Ridge - Franconia
Every year in September my brother in law Mike organizes a golf weekend. I'm not a great golfer by any means, but the major perk of the trip is that I end up having a place to stay in the whites for the weekend. This year I joined up with them Saturday afternoon after a less than impressive Walk for Diabetes. Golfed 18 holes in Ashland on Saturday, stayed Saturday night then played 9 holes in Waterville on Sunday morning. Friday I had talked to Albee about our weekend plans. It sounded like he was looking for soemthing to do and I was looking to decide on where I was going to go. So the decision was made...

UP Flume Slide - Across the ridge to Lafayette - Down OBP - Run the Bike Path back to the Car.

Al brought his buddy Pete along for the ride and we all met at 1pm in the Whitehouse parking lot. After a little fidgeting with camelbacks and busted bladders, we were soon on our way down the Pemi-Trail towards the bike path. It was a gorgeous morning. The leaves in the notch are turning brightly and the company was refreshingly funny. Joking was at a premium as we meandered along. Al was very excited because he had never done the Flume Slide before NOR had he ever been NORTH on the Franconia Ridge. I got some teasing in for sure.

We briskly walked the uphills and ran when we could, tackling the flats at a breathtaking pace. We stopped at the Liberty Spring/Flume Slide trail junction so I could leave a note in the trail. We were supposed to try and meet up with Drew somewhere for a hello as he was hiking the ridge himself. But I knew we would be too late. So I left a 1:20pm made of sticks on the side of the trail for him to hopefully see (he did not). We then continued our run to the base of the slide.

We got to the bottom of the slide and I turned to Al and said, "Now don't be too disappointed. I'm going to warn you.. though steep in sections.. this trail is the most over rated and over hyped in the Whites." We briskly climbed the slide, Al slipped a few times as his shoes had zero traction. But before long we emerged at the top and Al looked at me and said, "Thats it?!" As we stood on the top of Flume.. a check at the time revealed it had taken us only 1 hour 44 minutes to tackle the first section of our day.

On Flume was a couple hiking. They asked us how far we were going today.. "Going down Liberty Springs I pressume??" Al told them we were headed to Lafeyette and the husband replied with "Geeze... you won't get their till sunset!" We tried to explain we were trail running but I'm not sure that they understood. After bumming some sunblock from them.. we were off.

Liberty was a busy summit. 9 people laying out on the rocks and 2 dogs. I overheard a hiker talking about how he got lost hiking Peak of the nubble... saying that the logging roads around there are very confusing. Nubble is a peak I've yet to hike, but enjoy his story. We carried on once more as we were now running one of my favorite sections of trail.. Franconia Ridge from Liberty to Haystack. This section of trail is mostly flat up until the last 200 yards. The trail is home to many new bog bridges, but also sections of deep watery mud, rocks and roots. Its a technical runners practice ground and we all laughed the entire way through as we tried to follow each others every step. I miscued on one and Al got joy out of the massive footprint and mud on my leg.

When we emerged out of the spruce and onto Haystack, there was a group of college kids milling about. We stopped to eat, drink and watch the gliders final passes for the day high above. Lincoln was before us now and we enjoyed the views of the path we've so far traced. The ridge from here to Lafayette was typical yet... rather unpopulated for such a gorgeous day. But then again... it was getting late. We passed day hikers... some wearing sweat pants a purse and shoes.. no water or food. And we passed thru hikers, peakbaggers and even hut crawlers. Either way... looking closely at the wide array of hikers on this ridge is primarily more entertaining than others.

On Lafayette.. we took in the views, pointed out peaks, looked out to Vermont, NY and Canada. We watched how the angle of the sun this time of year, gave the hills a rolling effect or blue and grey with the days haze lfiting from the valleys. I enjoyed an extended break by laying down in the old summit house and chucking rocks at Al and trying to hit Pete who was sitting further away. But before long it was time to go. Pete wanted a few more minutes at the top so Al and I carried on, picking our way down the summit to Greenleaf.

At Greenleaf, Al and Pete refilled their water one more time and I opted for a mug of lemonaide. The place was crawling with people staying at the hut waiting for dinner to be done. The only thing about it is.. large areas around the hut are roped off for revege... and when they stop in the middle of the trail to gab.. its hard to get around them.. but we made do. As we finished with our stop, we saddled up and as we went to leave the hut one of the hikers aid, "Are you guys running?" Pete replied with, "Something like that."

We made our way over the agonies as quickly as possible and once we made it past the lunch rocks.. we HAULED down OBP for Lafayette Place. We passed many hikers descending from their days hike and even scared a few unintentionally. We also noticed quite a bit of trash and abandoned property onthe trail. Clothes, purses, bottles... really unfortunate. Soon we met back up with the river, ran around the last few bends and as we ran out into the parking lot.. we were met by a family who hiked the traditional loop. The Dad see's us and yells sarcasticly, "Don't tell me you guys just ran the loop." I replied with... "Ok I won't tell you we ran THE loop... but we ran A loop." He chuckled and then we waited for Pete.

From here we ran the Bike Path under the highway and then ALL the way down to where are car is parked at the Whitehouse Trailhead. Making it to the car for sundown. It was a GREAT run and the last great training for me beforen the VT 50. I'm ready to go and VERY excited.

Todays trip took us 6 hours and 15 Minutes. I still need to loop up the mileage but I think its close to 16 Miles. All in all... a GREAT day to be on the ridge and glad Al finally did Flume Slide.

SWEET!

PICS HERE

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Last edited by Sherpa John on Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:45 pm
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Great TR SJ!

but I still think the slide is a tough one...over rated? maybe. But still a nice challenge to a great ridge so you gotta pay your due!

of course this is a 2-day trip for us slow pokes. :wink:

Bill

PS Very sorry to hear about the conditions on OBP. We'll be there in a week or two so I'll make sure to bring extra trash bags.

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Mon Sep 18, 2006 3:31 pm
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Ha, I LOVE tourist watching. Coming down Zealand after 2 days of hot, sweaty backpacking and smaelling like you just crawled out a bears behind....and there are the moms and dads, out with the kids, wearing their chinos and loafers (yes, loafers!) Guess thats one of the other nice things about winter hiking....you KNOW the person you meet on trail is pretty serious about this!

Glad to see you had a great run. Them trash chucking idiots should be flogged! But what do you expect from "city folk". :lol: :lol:

B.


Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:40 pm
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Excellent Sherpa John! Another great hike, run, and t.r. During this coming winter Bob & Geri will offer another group journey to the Peak above the Nubble. Of course, you are most welcome to join us!

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Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:17 pm
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BUMP!

PICS HERE

CHECK EM OUT!

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Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:02 pm
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What a gorgeous day you guys had! Looks great SJ, thanks for posting!

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Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:01 am
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