Itinerary: Pemi Loop Trail, road walk, lower part of Liberty Spring, Flume Slide, Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Liberty Spring, road walk, Pemi Loop (Map)
Hikers: Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart, Richard Bissonette (to just below slide), Fred Knight
Photo sets: Photos from Steve and Scott; Selected images from all 3 cameras.
|Selfie with Franconia Ridge||The Man||The Old Man|
|Trail Breaker #2||Trail Breaker #1||Trail Follower|
For a hearty start, we three met Richard for breakfast at Flapjack’s in Lincoln, NH after a nice ride in Steve’s MB E350. Our first mistake was not bringing snow shoes, as the new snow was a few inches deep even at the trail head. We got going at 8:15 with squishy snow and microspikes. About 45 minutes later, by the time we got to the trail fork, the snow was deeper and NOBODY had been up the Flume Slide Trail since the last snow. Steve and Scott shared the trail breaking as the snow got deeper. When we reached the lower end of the flume slide, Richard decided to turn back. I thought I could go the remaining 1200′ elevation gain to the top. Scott led the way—a lifesaver for me as the new snow was close to a foot with another 10-15″ base. Also, my pack strap gave way, which required a repair. Well, I reached the top after 6 hours and 8 minutes. Steve and Scott were waiting for me. Yikes! So it was 2:25 pm, and we had 5 miles to go. As Steve put it while still on the Slide, we were going to end in the dark going forward or back. My second mistake was no time for recovery.
On top of Mt Flume, the views were stupendous: undercast with snowy peaks sticking out, clear blue sky, only freezing temperatures, and rime ice everywhere. I managed to mount Mt. Flume—just! I was bushed.
The trek to Mt. Liberty was a real slog for me, with Steve and Scott way ahead. When I reached Mt. Liberty, they had finished photographing the sights. With the sun getting low near the horizon, it was gorgeous—the fading light, the undercast, the protruding white peaks, the rocks on Liberty, no wind, clear skies, and sunset approaching. My third mistake was forgetting my headlamp. Luckily Steve and Scott had theirs.
We reached the Liberty Spring junction at 4:15. I removed my crampons, opting for microspikes for the descent. Steve gave me his headlamp at 4:45, a lifesaver for me as I was having trouble navigating the trail. However, the trail was perfect with snowy base and good traction with microspikes.
Steve and Scott waited for me at the Flume-LibertySpring junction, the road, and the Pemi Loop. I made it back to the car at about 5:45. Exhausted and wet. My boots had actually made my socks wet; my pants were wet as well. Hadn’t seen that before. A grueling hike but a good one.
Oh yes, I managed to record the hike with gaiaGPS. Now I just have to figure how to upload it for archiving.
Summary: ~9 miles, 9.5 hrs (6 hrs to top of Flume Slide-Wow!), ended in the dark