|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Flume, Mt. Liberty, Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Lincoln, NH|
||Bike path, herd path, Liberty Spring Trail, Flume Slide Trail, bushwhack, Flume Slide, Franconia Ridge Trail, Lincoln Slide, Lincoln Brook Trail, herd path, Black Pond Trail, Lincoln Woods Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, October 8, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I parked at the Basin East lot. Even without using the shortcut/herd path, I believe this is a slightly shorter walk than parking at the Whitehouse trailhead and taking that trail in. Plenty of room early in the morning and late in the day although it looked as if it may have overflowed during the day. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||This was so long ago now that I'm a bit fuzzy but I believe the crossings of Cascade Brook and Flume Brook on Flume Slide Trail were rock hopable even if they were a bit tricky to do so. And, if I recall correctly, the crossings on Lincoln Brook Trail were just barely rock hopable without getting my feet wet (trail runners). |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||No blowdowns that I recall. |
||I wouldn't recommend taking dogs on Flume or Lincoln Slide. Flume Slide Trail wouldn't be appropriate for many either. The other trails would be fine for most hiking dogs. |
|Lost and Found:
||Waterbottle lost while getting to Lincoln Slide I believe this was an orange one. Funny since I also picked it up on trail months ago. ||
||The bike path is paved. The herd path/shorcut from it to Liberty Springs Trail is not signed or marked but easy enough to follow though make sure you're going the right way as there's other paths around there as well. There was at least one large stepover blowodown on it. Liberty Springs Trail is blazed in white as it coincides with the AT. Flume Slide Trail, if it's blazed, I think is blazed in blue. Not hard to follow. Franconia Ridge Trail is blazed in white as it coincides with the AT and is easy to follow. No blazing on Lincoln Brook Trail. Some yellow blazing on Black Pond Trail though mostly or all toward the beginning of the trail if I recall correctly. Lincoln Woods Trail not blazed but obviously easy to follow. |
My 4th, 5th, and 6th 4000 footers of the month out of 24 needed. A beautiful day for this hike. After parking at the Basin East, I walked down the bike path to the start of the herd path to Liberty Springs Trail. I was afraid that it might be very easy to walk by in summer so I had Gaia out but it wasn't hard to identify. First time on it without snow. There are some branches down across the tiny stream here to help you get across without getting your feet wet. Otherwise, it would be a leap across. From there, I got pulled right by a herd path rather than heading straight up the path to the right was more obvious. Once I realized my mistake, I quickly corrected and found the correct herd path heading up though. One big stepover somewhere along there.
I reached Liberty Springs Trail and made my way quickly up to Flume Slide Trail. Nice to head up that trail again even if not taking it in its entire length as it's been a few years. It's really quite nice/easy until it reaches the slab. At about 2850-2875ft, shortly before the slab begins, I saw a herd path to my left and took it, hoping this might take me to the base of the newer Flume Slide. Unfortunately, while there was sign of human traffic it was no clear herd path and just seemed to lead to a rocky drainage that parallels the trail. So I followed that a short distance before joining the trail again and walking a slight distance further to reach the base of the slabs at 3000-3050ft where I was told I should begin my bushwhack. I turned left and headed into the woods hoping I'd find a decent herd path. Some signs of human traffic for sure but no clear herd path other than side paths to avoud the slab. Perhaps I should have followed those a bit uphill and looked for something clearly diverging left? I had heard of a herd path here but never saw one.
Anyway, I descended slightly, before then contouring/slabbing to about 3200ft (heading just east of north). The woods weren't too bad although I was essentially sidehilling. I crossed many small drainages as I did this. At 3200ft I was almost directly beneath the start of the slide so I turned right just north of east and began steeply ascending to the base of the slide though I wasn't following a clear drainage of it. More on the explanation of this below, but I should have followed the last drainage I'd crossed and cut east sooner.
Soon enough, I started to come to some slab/ledge below tree line. Some careful maneuvering was done. Then, sooner or later, I found myself just to the right (south) of the base of a large slide on my left. This slide began at roughly 3450ft. It was steep, very wet, and all slab. Nope, not going up that. In talking with friends, I'd heard that there were two slides here, but I thought that they started together, and diverged as they gained elevation. This is not the case. They are more like two separate slides. The one I had just nearly popped out onto is larger and further north. I doubt this one is every hikable given how steep, slabby, and wet it is. The slide that I wanted was about 300 vertical feet above me, beginning at 3750ft.
Now while this large slide was to the left of me, there was also some slab to the right of me. So I could either make my way down a ways, then head right and back into the woods or I could continue up this narrow island of trees and hope that it remained hikable until I reached the slide I wanted. Of course, I chose the latter. The next 300 vertical feet were very slow as 1) I needed to make sure I could get back down however I came up if I ever hit anything too sketchy and 2) because it was pretty steep and trecherous as my island of trees occasionally disappeared and I had to exercise caution though I was never that exposed as I never went out onto the wet ledge slide. Although this took forever and thus ruined my plans for Owls Head the next day it was rather rewarding as most people do not go up this way. So at least I get to say I ascended alongside this slide lol.
To my right, things began to look a bit rockier, and I hoped this was the fallout of the slide I wanted. I started to follow it and it soon led me to the base of the slide I wanted. This slide, was MUCH easier. AS I'd heard it was talus was really quite easy. Although the whack to get to it may not be the easiest for beginners, the slide itself would be great. Not too loose, or steep, and no wet slab. There was slab and it actually was often easier to walk on than the loose talus but it was so dry and in small chunks that it was a piece of cake to walk on. Very enjoyable slide and actually pretty easy to make decent time on. The tricky part would be the top of it though. I was facing into the sun and not really watching where I was going so I wound up to the left and did some rock scrambling to the trail whereas most probably head right up the tongue to the trail. This is what people look down when just after the summit if headed down Osseo. It looked very loose and steeper than the rest of the slide. I know at least one person who did that and they didn't make it sound bad though it looked like it could be tricky from where I was, sitting above it on the rock scramble.
I headed north along Franconia Ridge Trail, passing over and gridding out Flume, Liberty, and Lincoln along my way. I then headed down Lincoln Slide. My first time on it. I did not do my due diligence as to where best to access it though I've heard a few things. I began my whack to it from the col between Lincoln and North Lincoln/Truman. I'd heard that this was a good route to it. Well, a very short ways in, I decided that, from here, I was so much closer to the southern tongue of the slide that I would just start there instead of contouring my way over to the north tongue. The disadvantage of this is that you pop out into the open much lower so less views. Also while I was able to stay bove tree line and see my route for a bit, I eventually had to go through awful scrub. I lost a waterbottle in there and also lost half of a pole though I was able to retrieve the latter. I've more recently heard that it is much easier to access the slide if you start further north. It sounds as if there may even be a rough path to it? Oh well, something to remember for next time. I came out onto the top of the southern branhc at 4775-4800ft.
Lincoln Slide was more difficult than I thought it would be. Truly loose. Also, my first time descending a slide. It looked like there was a bit of slab on the north tongue that most people go on but no slab here. I fell a few times with rocks shifting so much underneath my feet. There are also some very large boulders on the slide that look precarious. I reached the point at which the two slides meet, and then generally stuck to the left. I think that it was very shortly after this point that the beginnings of the drainage became visible with some slab. Didn't want to be going down that so I stuck left. I think I stuck left too long though as it then seemed like the sides were starting to bank and it would be difficult to go down into it. This is all before the water really began to show up. I was going to head down though when I realized an open path through the trees on my left at 4250ft. I figured this was likely just another drainage but thinking it may bring me to the start of the herd path in the woods that avoids the drainage, I went down it. Sure enough, it was a drainage. Not sure if it was quicker than staying in the slide. It was easy going at times and open, but then became chocked with blowdowns and thicker at others.
I took this, paralleling the slide, until it emptied (though it was totally dry) back into the slide at 3875ft. At this point, there was now water, though it looked like I could mostly rock hop. Only one tricky part where I either had to go up a steep, loose, left bank which didn't look good, or slide down some slime covered slab. I chose the latter though the slide was a it sketchy as you needed to land on the bank to the left and my legs were barely long enough to secure this. It is so slimy that there's really no way to stop yourself. I think the only other way about this is to go to your right and get wet. It wasn't too long after this that I took to the woods o my left (north side of drainage). A bit tight at first (I didn't really realize at first what I high elevation I was still at) but not too bad and things started to open up and I came to what may be the beginnings of a herd path at about 3500-3550ft. I stayed very close to the drainage until about 3350-3400ft where I took a bearing and began to head northeast toward what I thought was a pond but is really more of a marsh. Unfortunately, this threw me off a but as I then tried to head southeast back to Lincoln Brook Trail but ran into beaver swampy stuff and had to backtrack some. I easily crossed Lincoln Brook at about 2900ft and made my way to the trail and headed out along Lincoln Brook, BP whack and trail, and Lincoln Woods.
Nice to run into and hike with Kathy and her friend Elaine for a while. And a huge thanks to my friend who did Owls Head and waited for me in the lot to finish so he could drive me back to my car :)
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.