- Date: Saturday, September 11, 2010
- Trail: Bike Path, Liberty Spring Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail (8 miles round trip)
- Total hiking time: 14 hours
- Weather: Clear and sunny in the low 70s with relatively no wind
"The summit is a a rocky pyramid thrust upward above the forest, and it grants the most astounding views yet experienced on any of our hikes. The wonder of the Pemigewasset Wilderness to the east is overwhelming while the Lafayette range, notch, and cliffs of Cannon lend an otherworld quality to the peak. This would be enough for any day, but today there was so much more, as our American flag soon adorned the Liberty summit!"
Read more about Randy's thoughts on the Mt. Liberty hike here.
The group of 10 arrived at the Flume Visitor Center Parking Lot between 5:15am and 5:45am. At roughly 5:50am, the hike leader gathered the team together and said a few brief words before starting out on the Franconia Notch Bike Path at 5:55am. We made great time on the .8 mile bike path with the help of headlamps and a camera light. At roughly 6:20am we arrived at the Liberty Springs Trailhead. After a 5-minute de-layering/picture break, we started up the Liberty Springs Trail.
The first 1.1 miles of the trail were relatively flat and moderate with good footing. The team made great time – slightly faster than a mile an hour. After the large brook crossing at approximately 1.2 miles, the team took a 15-minute packs-off break. Following the break, the group steadily ascended the trail and arrived at the Liberty Springs Campsite (2.9 miles from the bike path) at around 10:15am. The group took an extended break to re-fill water and take some film footage. A brief discussion was had as to whether the group, being ahead of schedule, would wait there or continue the ascent to the summit. Based on the fact that we had an unknown .5 mile of terrain ahead of us and that some group members were cold below tree line, we opted to push on.
The final .3 miles to the Franconia Ridge Trail junction was steep and challenging. The group made steady progress and eventually arrived on the summit at approximately 11:45am. The group participated in the Flags on the 48 event, which included a ceremonial flag raising and singing of the national anthem. The team spent two hours on the summit – eating, resting, and talking with the large number of other hikers (close to 40). At 1:45pm, the team began the descent.
The descent was slower than the ascent, but the group made steady progress, arriving back at the parking lot just before full-on darkness right around 8:00pm.
All-in-all, a very successful hike (8 miles round trip, 3,059' elevation gain/loss). We were on the trail for a little over 14 total hours, but with breaks and summiting accounting for at least three full hours. The weather was perfect – clear and sunny in the low 70's with relatively no wind. There were no major injuries. Jenifer was treated for a blister hot spot on the ascent when we took a break at the brook crossing. Randy had a brief spell of nausea and dry heaves on the descent, less than a quarter of a mile from the bike path. The one major lesson from this hike was that the team was more efficient on the descent with a human guide replacing Quinn during times of steeper, rockier terrain.
Pre-hike page:Mt. Liberty Pre-hike Information
Blog posts about the hike:"Quintessential Reasons for 9/11" by The Mighty Quinn
"Liberated!" by Randy
Blog posts from before the hike:"…and Liberty for All!" by Randy
"Give Me Liberty" by Kyle
Photos:Picasa web album: "2020VQ - Liberty" by Jenifer
Picasa web album: "Liberty" by Tracy