Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Liberty, Mt. Flume, NH
Trails: Whitehouse Trail, Liberty Spring Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2019
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking available at Liberty Spring lot at 630am. Surprising for a holiday weekend. I suspect it filled up later on. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All levels low. Easy walk across. Trails very dry overall. Minor mud on Franconia Ridge between Liberty & Flume. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: I found the trails to be in good overall condition, especially Liberty Spring. There is a fair amount of erosion down the south side of Mt Liberty (toward Flume), with a lot of small loose rock. I didn't find it difficult to navigate in these dry conditions. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Bear warning on Liberty Spring trail (see Comments), and watch for ground bees (see Bugs). One three foot scramble just south of the Liberty summit could need minor assistance for some pups. Otherwise, many happy dogs on the trails through the day. 
Bugs: Ground bees nest exposed on Liberty Spring Trail just below the water crossing about 0.5mi above the junction with the Flume Slide Trail. Multiple hikers in shorts stung on lower legs. We were in long pants and not stung. Nest exposed due to troublesome bear (see Comments). 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: (See rocket21's post also from Saturday, which describes a nearly identical but separate bear encounter from Saturday high on Liberty Spring. This would mean two hikers lost bags to at least one bear on Saturday.)

Significant bear encounter on Liberty Spring, at the water crossing 0.5mi above the junction with Flume Slide Trail. At 8am, we came across a hiker who has just lost their bag to a bear at the water crossing a few minutes before. The bear had the bag taken apart 50ft into the woods. We observed it for a few minutes, then the bear started to come out onto the trail, and chased us with a group of hikers down the trail perhaps 200yds. It then veered into the woods. The bear did not appear afraid of people, yelling, or loud whistles. Only when our group started to huddle up and make more noise did it veer off.

On its way down the trail, the bear ripped open a ground bees nest just below the water crossing (see Bugs). We think the bee swarm may have driven the bear down the trail to appear it was chasing us, but cannot be sure if the bear was interested in us, or getting away from the bees.

About an hour after passing through, we passed who I believe to be the AMC campsite caretaker on the way down with a radio and pack. We later heard that a ranger came to the scene, but heard no further updates.

On our way down, we saw no further evidence of bear activity, and quickly passed by the open bees nest below the water crossing low on the trail.

Apart from all of this, we had a great day on the trails. I found Liberty Spring with better footing than I expected. The trail gains a lot of elevation, but I didn't find it overly steep or treacherous, more of a long staircase. The trail on the south side of Liberty is quite steep, with rough footing, and one somewhat steeply sloped rock that I navigated slowly.

NH 4k #18 & 19 for me.  
Name: Lord Bass 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2019-09-01 
Link: http:// 
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