Liberty, Flume, Waumbek (#25, #26, #27)

Date of Hike: 12/22/10

Mount Liberty and Flume Mountain
Basin Bushwhack / Liberty Springs Trail: 2.9 miles
Franconia Ridge Trail: 3.0 miles
Basin Bushwhack / Liberty Springs Trail: 2.9 miles
- 8.8 miles (4,050 elevation gain)

Mount Waumbek
Starr King Trail: 7.6 miles (2,650 elevation gain)

Total Miles: 16.4 miles (6,700 elevation gain)
- Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- After more than a month off from hiking in the White Mountains it was time to head back up on for the first full day of winter and continue my quest of completing the Winter 48 - 4,000 footers of New Hampshire.  Last year was my first year of winter hiking and I was able to get 24 peaks in so I was half way home!
-  To starts this year off I figured I'd hit up Liberty and Flume in the morning then if the weather was clear enough head up Cannon Mountain.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and I was socked in with very limited views all day
- On trail at 7:10am, Mount Liberty summit 9:15am, Flume Mountain summit 9:50am, finished 11:30am.  Temps in the low 20's, wind gust above 20 mph out of the north.
- I decided to take the Basin bushwhack to the Liberty Spring trail.  It's much faster and more enjoyable than coming in from the Flume Gorge over the Whitehouse Trail.  The bushwhack leaves the bike path around 0.2 miles from the Basin parking lot, follows an old logging road and joins the Liberty Springs Trail where the Liberty Springs Trail takes a sharp right 0.4 miles from it's trailhead.
- The hike from the Flume Slide Trail Junction to the Franconia ridge was a slog, It had been a very long time since I had a backpack filled with extra clothes, crampons, ice axe, snow shoes, etc.  I wasn't able to get into a groove until I reached the Franconia Ridge. In the end I only needed the extra clothes and my microspikes as the trail was very easy to hike.
- There were no views to be had from either summit and it was pretty cold and windy once out of the trees so I didn't stay around to long on either summit.
- The hike back down went fast and I finally started running into people between the brook crossing and the campsite.  All hikers had on microspikes and were enjoying themselves on their hike up.
- I made it back to the car, immediately turned up the heat and changed my clothes for the third time and had some lunch before heading up to hike Mount Waumbek since Cannon was totally in the clouds.
- The drive up the the Starr King Trail was slow going because of the snow showers and the road conditions, but I made it to the makeshift winter parking lot off Route 2 just after 12:30pm, got my gear ready (ditching the crampons, snowshoes, ice axe) and headed to the trailhead.
- On trail at 12:50pm, Waumbek summit 2:40pm, finished 3:50pm.  Temps in low 20's, no views, shielded from all wind gusts.
- I was pretty beat up from Liberty and Flume but I figured it was best to try and hike Mount Waumbek now rather than later, as eventhough it's a pretty hike through the woods it's pretty unexciting because of the lack of views.
- I wasn't the only person on the trail, I crossed by twenty people descending,  all but three where wearing snowshoes as the trail is almost perfect for them, I myself bare-booted the whole way with no problems, but it's best to snowshoe it for better traction. Everyone I ran into was in high spirits and really having a great time.
- I passed the last group just before the spring and then I was all alone for the rest of the hike.  I was pretty beat up on the way to Starr King but once I made it to the old cabin's fireplace I hit my second wind and was in pretty good shape the rest of the way over to Waumbek where I enjoyed peace and quiet.
- The hike out went fast, I took a picture or two along the way, and booked it out of there as I was starting to get really hungry by the last mile or two.
- All in all in was a great start to the winter hiking season!

Click here for all pictures

Liberty Springs Trail (A.T.)
 Mount Liberty Summit
 Starr King Trail

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