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Hike-NH.com - View topic - Mount Liberty - 3/8/15

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 Mount Liberty - 3/8/15 
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 Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Mount Liberty (on a nicer day) back in January


Back in January on a little snowshoe trip with the kids my wife was gazing at the Franconia Ridge and asking what was what. Mt Liberty was front and center with a frosty topcoat and I told her we could snowshoe up that sometime this winter (without the kids obviously) and she liked the idea. Six weeks later, with winter running out, that day had arrived.

The kids slept at their Grandparents so we could get an early start, and after finding the shortcut from the Basin unbroken, actually not finding the shortcut because it was unbroken is more accurate, we started on the Whitehouse Trail at 8:15 in brisk 15 degree sunshine. Whitehouse makes for a good 1/2 mile warm up, as its relatively flat and offered glimpses through the trees of what lay ahead. Another 1/4 mile on the bike path (freshly groomed for snowmobiles) brought us to the Liberty springs trail. Not one of my favorite trails ever, but it had been a while since my last visit and it was a means to an end as they say. It also transitioned nicely to a gradual uphill through the hardwoods as the sun came over the ridge. This was my wife's first big snowshoe hike and her hip flexors and legs were feeling it early on. I suggested maybe turning back and finding something smaller but she was stubbornly set on getting up Liberty, so on we went.

Liberty from the Whitehouse Trail


Up up and away


Sun coming up on Liberty Springs trail


We passed a couple guys with ice climbing gear at the Flume Slide junction, and I assume they went that way as we never saw them again. One more couple would pass us near the liberty spring tent sites and we passed another halfway down and that was it for people for the day. Not bad for a mild Sunday on a 4k. From that junction the trail made another transition to what i'd call moderately steep. We took frequent breaks to stretch the legs out, snack and enjoy the time without three little kids pulling us in all directions. When we entered the pines the trail got steeper still, which required more breaks, as her legs were really feeling it now. Someone had sledded down the steeps also, which made a narrower track and annoying edges that rolled the snowshoes. No matter how many times I suggested maybe turning back before she killed herself she just kept on chugging up the trail like the little engine that could. I knew there'd be some way points soon to break things up mentally and we hit the first one 1/4 mile from the tent sites (the no camping sign) followed by the tent sites themselves halfway to the ridge, and another 1/4 mile from there finally the ridge itself. Of course the sun departed and flurried moved in but no real wind and the beauty of the flakes floating down in the pines didn't go unnoticed.

Getting up into the pine trees as things get steeper


Only the bobcats have been sleeping here lately


Almost to the ridge and the flurries begin :?


The trail signs were only knee high with the snow and my wife actually went right by them without noticing. I think she was just locked in on the alpine ridge she'd seen in
pictures to get through the soreness in her legs. Whatever the case we were almost to treeline when she asked when we'd hit the Franconia Ridge trail junction, and was pleasantly surprised when I told her we were just about to get out of the trees, which put a little more spring in her step and just moments later we popped out above the trees ant got the first views of the day. Not clear of far reaching, but dramatic clouds and snow swirling with breaks on blue sky here and there and a snow covered Franconia Notch in the sunshine below. The higher ridge was still cloud capped but the awesome summit block of Liberty was in the clear front and center and never fails to wow! She was apprehensive about getting up it but I assured her the trail wound around the back and it looked worse than it was, and with that we made our way over and up the final slabs of snow covered rock to the top, 4 hours after we started.

Says she never noticed these


Welcome to the alpine zone


Getting the first glimpse of views


Which looked like this...


And this...


Headed for the top. Looks like a formidable challenge, but it's not really


The final steps




Success!! Winter 4K #1!!


Views were limited, but decent, starting with Flume and Cannon visible, but as we took some pics and put on layers to fight off the wind and 15 degree temps the clouds actually cleared up pretty nicely. She only wanted to stick around about 15 minutes but in that time the clouds cleared enough for glimpses of the Bonds, Garfield, the Kinsmans to appear, not that she really cared what was what, she just liked having some views. As we crossed back over the ridge Mt Lincoln made an appearance too, actually showing brightly in the sunshine surrounded by the clouds. So as I said, not clear views but very nice all the same. Actually preferable to my eye I think, or maybe that's just because I never ever, ever ever ever, get blue sky days and have grown accustom to this type of day. We returned to the trees by glissading down the last steep pitch and got out of the wind, put on a second layer of gloves to warm up cold fingers and headed down.

Mt Flume to the south


We didn't stay long before heading for the frosty trees




Headed back across the ridgetop as things get brighter




Clearing up just in time for a last look around


It had improved to this. Acceptable.


Mt. Lincoln looming large


Back to the shelter of the trees


I pointed out the signs to her (still don't know how she missed them) and we dropped down off the ridge. Her legs were quite sore still but a little better going down and we moved along pretty good, glissading a few of the steeps for fun and stopping for a frozen fluffernutter at the tent sites, which looked to only have had Bobcats for visitors this winter. As we sat and snacked the sun and blue sky came out (of course!!) and from there to the car was a pleasant stroll with spring in the air. Temps in the 30s and blazing sun even softened up the snow, to the point where when we hit the snowmobile path it was mashed potatoes and harder going for a bit. That was about the last straw for my wife's legs, which were jello at that point and starting to hurt, and not that good satisfying hurt. She actually said it was worse than having our three kids, and she had nothing for the pain on any of them! :shock: I can only imagine, and the last half mile of Whitehouse was slow going, with me carrying her backpack, but she kept going, finally cresting the last hill and never having been so happy to see an outhouse in her life. Not because she needed it, but because it's at the end of the trail! :D

Someone already chunked up the trail with a sled and bare boots so why not?!


Move it or lose it!


Setting a good pace for sore legs


And why shouldn't the sun come out now??


But a pleasant spring-like stroll to finish things off


Coming through!


:evil:


The end is near


We changed and headed off for a hard earned but well deserved burger and fries at the Black Mountain Burger place in Lincoln (which is awesome by the way if you like
burgers and fries) before getting a couple coffees and heading home. The coffee did no good, she passed right out in the car, but was pretty proud of herself for doing this, at the same time being disappointed her legs weren't in better shape, especially after pretty easily climbing Washington back in September. Yesterday was 8 miles, 3250 feet and it took 7 hours round trip, which I thought was great for a first big winter hike, only an hour more than book time for summer on a first winter 4K. A real taste of winter on top but a preview of spring and things to come in the afternoon. A great and rare day out for just the two of us, and in spite of the soreness she had a great time and can't wait to go again, and said she got an appreciation of why I like winter hiking so much. 9 NH4K's down for her, only 39 more to go!

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Is it time to go hiking again yet?! :D




Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:45 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
You are getting good at that "pulled back shot" (there has to be a name for it) What a day. I wish my better half had a better time in the hills.

Edit: those fries look fantastic BTW... and bacon... hmmm


Last edited by thegibba on Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:02 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Kudos to her for gritting it out. I remember Desi getting "stuck" at the tent site as she could go no further. We ended up catching up with her further down the trail as she was sledding down. I remember that one section being the only sticking point for me back then too.

By the way, how was that burger place? We went when it was a different name (like 2-3 years ago) and I remember it being piss poor (uncooked fries, flies everywhere, meh service).

Greg

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Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:03 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15


Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:43 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Very nice. Yeah, hiking with snowshoes definitely makes for some sore legs if you don't do it all the time. Sounds like a good first "big winter hike".

I stopped at that burger place this past summer with my dad after hiking Chocorua and I thought it was really good. We ate outside but it was clean and both the food and service were excellent. Good beer selection, too :beer:


Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:47 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Looked like some nice alone time with your wife. Very Nice! :) The views look great and great pics as always.

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Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:22 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
It's great to get some "Mom and Dad" time in! I sympathize with Mrs. Granite, because other than a few minutes in my yard trying to get at an ice dam, I had not used my shoes since last Dec. And we only did Lil' Old Doublehead..... And I was topping ever few minutes!

Anyway, even if you guys didn't get the sun till later, your pictures are very dramatic. And I am like Mrs. G. I get tea for the ride home and end up catching a few ZZZZ's at the rest stop! Again, glad you both had a great day! You deserve it!


Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:42 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15


Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:05 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
I'm pretty jealous that you get to hike like that with your wife!

I mean, not that I wish I could hike with your wife, that would be weird, but that I could hike like that with my wife. There we go.

For real, actually, it sounds like they're a lot alike in their hiking, except mine won't go out in winter (and for as long as it took me, I can't really blame her).

Also for real, some of those pics are pretty dramatic! Blue skies are awesome but I'm glad we get variety in our weather (I get it though, that you've missed out on some blue sky "variety" lately).


Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:36 pm
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Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:51 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Well GB if they're alike in their hiking and all of our schedules ever gel we can try and get them out there together. Mine is chipping away at the 48 slowly, like, 9 of them in the last 9 years slowly.

Kathy my wife was trying hard not to whine or show the pain she was in. I told her to whine away as long as her feet were moving up or down the mountain. I didn't care which, but we don't have a Hike Safe card! :D


Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:16 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Kathy, your husband is a MAN! (I mean obviously, but hiking out with a broken leg, dang!)

My wife's at 6. She would have no idea, about that though. She likes to get out, but not anything like most of us on this board.


Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:39 pm
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
First, congrats on your wife's 1st W48. But are you trying to discourage her picking Liberty as her first? :wink:

And in case you were wondering. this is what it looks like without the clouds. Since you claim to never get bluebird days. 8)


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Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:50 am
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 Re: Mount Liberty - 3/8/15
Well she sort of picked it. If I had remembered the upper parts being that steep I may have gone slightly smaller, but I wanted a WOW summit to try and set the winter hook and Hale, Tecumseh and the likes weren't going to cut it. Field/Avalon was a runner up. Views were good, but a day like you posted was what I was really hoping for. Of course since it was me hiking I knew better than to expect that!

So far she's got Washington, Jefferson, Eisenhower, Jackson, Moosilauke, Lincoln, Lafayette, Osceola and now this so I tend to lean bigger with spectacular views when her and I go, but I suppose I should start steering her towards some crap peaks so whenever we get to the end of the list she's not stuck with junk. Cabot, Waumbek, Hale and the Carters would not make a very memorable finish.


Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:49 am
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