Liberty and Flume - December 29, 2022

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Rhody Seth

Active member
Dec 18, 2015
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Charlestown, RI
Following the Bond/Zealand traverse the previous day, I wanted to get in one more hike before heading back to Rhode Island. Our motel was on Route 3 just south of the Flume visitor center and I decided to get an early start on the day and hike Liberty and Flume solo. Flume was the peak I really wanted because I still needed it for winter (as well as Round 4 of the NH48 which I was currently working on). I saw a report of people who had gone up Flume Slide recently but having never done it and wary of a solo winter attempt I opted for the safer out-n-back route via the Liberty Springs Trail.

A fantastic sunrise could be seen through the trees as I ascended. Down low there was plenty of ice and exposed rock/leaves - evidence of washouts from heavy rain the previous weekend. After about 1.5 miles the snow trail was more established. Spikes worked fine on this climb up and by the time I passed the Liberty Springs Tentsite it felt like winter in the Whites. Mild temps and wind on the summit of Liberty were most welcome and unlike the previous day there were splendid views to be had.

The previous report from the Flume Sliders said the ridge between Liberty and Flume had some drifts so I opted to switch to my snowshoes. Spikes would have worked but there was enough fresh snow on the trail to make me happy with the switch. The previous day's effort began to make itself known during the climb up Flume. The summit was fantastic with warm sun and almost no wind - great place to rest and have a snack.

The short return climb up Liberty was taxing and I saw my first hikers of the day on the Liberty summit. The descent went quickly - I left the snowshoes on for the first half as the snow was definitely getting softer. Two guys in spikes went down ahead of me, moving fast and you could see the occasional posthole they left in their wake. Lots of folks heading up as I went down. I'm always happy to be the early birder. Towards the bottom any oomph I had in my legs had all but disappeared.

Normally I'm pretty good at estimating how long these things will take (actually I usually overestimate) but this time my plan of four hours was way off and I finished in five. Tiring, but I was very happy to fit this hike in as Flume was the only peak on this trip to count towards my winter list (#34). Glad to get at least one more done.