Mt Liberty Trip - 18/May/97

By David Metsky

I had a late start from a friend's house in Vermont, so I didn't get to Franconia Notch until around 9:30. The weather was looking dubious so I decided to run up Artist's Bluff, at the north end of the Notch while it was still partly sunny. The sign says .5 miles, but I figure it is less than that. From the top you get great views of the Notch and the Cannon Mountain ski area. Be sure to admire the cut rock steps on the way up. This trip only took about 15 minutes, so I was off to the Liberty Springs trailhead.

There were a few cars in the parking area, near the Flume Visitor Center when I arrived. I quickly packed up and headed out the .8 mile section that parallels the highway. This was added when the Franconia Notch Turnpike was put in and all the trailheads were relocated. Then you hit the bikepath which you hike along for .2 miles and cross two bridges. Then you hit the Liberty Springs trail and start the real hike. It was a bit muddy but nothing too bad. I ran into another hiker and we hiked together for about a mile. Then he had to stop for a cigarette and I continued on. At around 3000' I hit snowline, but it was very firm and I didn't posthole.

I ran into a couple that were finishing their last section of AT in New England with this hike up Liberty Springs and across the ridge to Greenleaf. They had full packs, snowshoes, plastic boots, and all. We hiked together and talked about all sorts of things, but then I pushed on again for Liberty Springs. Then tent platforms were covered with snow so I wandered over to the view. This is a site with great views of Moosilauke and the Kinsmans, and is the perfect spot to watch sunset. I put on my vest and headed up to the Franconia Ridge junction. It's about .3 miles of fairly steep climbing, but the snow held and it went quickly.

Then it's just another .3 along the snowy ridge to the Liberty summit. I threw on some more clothes and started taking pictures. There were 360 degree views, and I picked out Garfield, the Bonds(West Bond, Bond, and Bondcliff), Carrigain and the Hancocks, Cannon and the Kinsmans, Lonesome Lake and the Cannon Balls, Cannon Cliffs, Moosilauke, Flume, and Lincoln. After about 30 minutes, the first guy I'd hiked with showed up. We talked for a while until Mt Washington showed up from behind the clouds. Three feet of snow had fallen in the past two weeks and it was much snowier that when we skied Tuckerman just a few weeks earlier. Another group showed up on the summit after another 20 minutes and I was ready to head down. The two of us hiked together until just above the snowline when he had to break for another cig. There were about a dozen more people heading up or nearly at the top. The snow was getting softer and we were just begining to posthole, so I bet they had a fun time getting down. Just before I got to the car I saw a trillium in bloom, a sign that spring really was coming.

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