Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness 10/28-29/11
Late Afternoon at Lonesome Lake
Flume Gorge/ The Basin/Lonesome Lake 10/28/11
Thursday night brought the first couple of inches of snow to Kingston, and along with the first snow, the first power outage of the season. The power was restored sometime after midnight, and Friday morning broke cold and bright, revealing a snow dappled forest across the Powow River from our home. Later in the morning we piled into the car for a planned trip to Pemi Cabins in Lincoln. On the way, we stopped and did some touristy things in Franconia Notch. We much prefer to go there this time of year when the Flume Gorge is closed for the season and there is no charge. It is a beautiful spot with a little snow and no crowds.
Sentinel Pine Bridge
After taking the loop around the park that brought us to Flume Gorge, Liberty Gorge and Cascade, the Sentinel Pine Bridge and The Pool, we headed to the top of the notch to reverse direction and stop at The Basin on the way back south. Despite a bit of snow here and there, the sun was warm and there was still some foliage to be seen on the trees, albeit mostly the browns and golds of beech and birch, which cast wonderful golden light in the afternoon sun. After a quick trip around the Flume we went down to check in to our cabin.
Emma Leads Across the Bridge
After check in we headed back up the notch to turn around again, this time stopping at Lafayette Place to make the short hike up to Lonesome Lake. The air was still and brisk, and there was a couple inches of snow on the trail. The hike up went quick, and there were views across the notch and up to Franconia Ridge as the trees were now stripped of the foliage that blocks the views in spring and summer. After a quick stop at the edge of the lake, we started a counter clockwise hike around the lake by the Around Lonesome Lake Trail.
The Goils at Lonesome Lake
Within minutes we came to where we could gaze east across the lake to the beautiful, snow-capped ridge, which at the moment was reflected near perfectly in the water. Soon, a slight breeze blew across the water and obscured the reflection, but did little to spoil this wonderful, late afternoon masterpiece of nature. I've had well traveled people say to me, "What's so special about the White Mountains? They're nothing much." I guess you had to be there...
Complete set of pics HERE:
Mount Liberty 4459'
Pemi Trail / Liberty Springs Trail / Franconia Ridge Trail
8 Miles 3050' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
Every trip report I promise myself that I've sworn off lists. Every trip report I find a new reason to be hiking some sort of list. We're one check mark closer to finishing our Autumn list and one check mark closer to finishing our October list. Off the top of my head, I'd say we were closest to finishing the October list on "The Grid", not that it matters, as we're not hiking for lists, ha-ha. As is often the case, the beauty laid out before us at or near a summit is reason enough to hike, and this hike was no different.
Liberty Springs Trail
We left on Friday morning for the mountains after an inch of snow knocked out power Thursday night. The plan was to do some small hikes Friday and Saturday and save it up for a hike of the Tripyramids Sunday with a friend who was finishing her 67. When we left there was no mention of snow in the forecast . By Friday afternoon there was a forecast for "Snowmageddon" on the radio waves. We wondered what, if anything, that meant for our plans. By Saturday morning we decided we would blow off the hike Sunday and use the better weather day to add to our dwindling Autumn list.
Surprising to me, Mount Liberty was one we had not been to in Autumn, and the trailhead was right down the street from where we were staying. With a nice "Alpine Start" of 10:30, we were off along the Pemi Trail towards the Liberty Springs Trail. I hedged for a moment to make this hike, remembering the relentless uphill slog that never seems to level off. For some reason it didn't seem bad at all to me this time, and there seemed to be lots of places that leveled off that apparently I had forgotten. I think maybe hiking this time of year in the cool weather with no bugs and no humidity goes a long way to making hikes more pleasurable for me, and I'm sure for Emma and Judy as well.
Cannon and Lincoln
We passed only a half dozen hikers descending as we hiked up, and as usual, someone recognized Emma. As we gained the ridge and approached the summit it was apparent that we'd have awhile on the summit to ourselves. The sky had taken on a silver sheen and the sun was a dull glow behind the veil, what we call in New England a "Winter" sky, a sure sign snow is coming. Visibility was good in all directions and the surrounding snow-covered peaks stood out against the bleak sky. To the northeast Washington was wrapped in a white scarf of clouds, still visible as he braced for the oncoming storm.
Zoom of The Bonds
A few hikers joined us briefly at the summit before they were on their way. As we descended I was thinking we probably wouldn't see any more coming up, as we had started so late. Much to the contrary we ran into several large groups. I'll refrain from mentioning what my thoughts were on their equipment, leadership and starting time. Let's just say that should they make the papers, then I might tend to agree with some of the slings and arrows aimed at them in the comments section of the Union Leader. Shoulder seasons in the Whites are no time to venture forth unprepared or ill equipped, but if you're reading this, you already know that.
Complete set of pics HERE: