Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Liberty, Mt. Flume, NH
Trails: Bike path, herd path, Liberty Spring Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: It was unplowed when I left, with 5-6" of powdery snow. I should have parked on the outgoing side when the snow was low so I would be going down on the way out after new snow fell, but my snow tires got me out. All seasons may not have been able to do so. The plows were hard at work on the parkway and could only keep one lane clear well in the falling snow, so maybe they'll plow the Basin parking lot later today. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Blue, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Slush 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The major crossing was okay, with enough ice over rocks to make it just steps, but there were holes between which might get covered by new snow. The others were rock steps. The wet area between the snowmobile trail and old trail can still be crossed on a downed small log. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: I've already forgotten but I think there was one significant one between the peaks which is now a leg over, and one new one on Libery Springs where the branches have caused hikers to go off trail just a bit. It needs a bigger saw than mine to cut it back where it should be. There's one or two new ones on the old trail section. There is some open water on the Liberty Springs, and several long stretches of soft wet ice under new snow. Between the peaks the trail has iced in boot prints which are filled by snow, making for some uneven footing today in spikes, and it would have been tough on snowshoes. But given the snow rate and wind blowing snow it could be a good snowshoe tomorrow. Only one snowmobiler went out on the rough and ungroomed snowmobile trail today, but with the new snow it might get groomed and have active traffic on it tomorrow. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Pepper did well in his still new coat, which kept the snowballs out of his armpits, but I wouldn't call the trail dog friendly because of all the wet ice flows and some open water and crossings on Liberty Spring which make for wet paws and with new snow pad icing dangers. I tried to keep him out of it on the hike up, but the snow often hid the wet areas. On the hike down he just ran through it all, even wading one crossing before I saw what he was doing, and so he iced up a little on the legs. The Vaseline seemed to keep his pads ice free. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: One gray summer type hat lost on Flume. Flume, unlike Liberty, was low wind except for one gust that whipped the hat into the woods so fast I never saw it. I looked a little but gave up. If it is ever found in that thick fir some poor soul will likely have been lost. 
Comments: Plan A never made it past the weather forecast, Plan B died in a late start and snow slowed traffic in the notch, so Plan C got its chance. I used microspikes up (having seen a post from Bob & Geri) but the new snow limited their effectiveness in places. On the hike down Liberty Springs I switched to Hillsounds and they were perfect, but a lot of that ice is still soft and the snow had been knocked off a bit. Two guys were using crampons; two more Hillsounds, and four others microspikes, but the snow was falling fast and the ridge was snowshoeable, and MSR type snowshoes may be the traction of choice tomorrow even on Liberty Springs. We enjoyed talking to the others on the trail, but its' always a treat to see and chat with Loanshark. They also went over to Flume; the others had enough of the wind on Liberty, (the winds on Flume were light), and as a result of similar decisions the trail after Liberty is noticeably different. We used the little whack around the tricky section just past Liberty; it's pretty obvious now. The trail over to Haystack looked like it hadn't been used too recently; I didn't check out Osseo's usage as I was looking for my hat. It was a good ol' winter hike; the trickiest part being the drive home. There was 1-2" new snow on the drive up, another 3-4" fell during our hike, and it was still snowing well mid afternoon.  
Name: Pepper and Me 
E-Mail: windriversjohn at gmail dot com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2013-12-26 
Link: http:// 
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