On Saturday, March 18th 2017, Monica and I went snowshoeing Mount Liberty and Mount Flume in New Hampshire. These two mountains were #21 and #22 on our list to complete all 48 mountains over 4000 feet in the White Mountains. You can read about our other mountain hikes here.
Last year, we didn’t get the chance to use our snowshoes in the mountains. It was too icy and we only used microspikes. There was a blizzard at the beginning of this week so we were super excited to hit the mountains on the weekend. I picked Monica up a little after 6am and we started our 2 hour drive from our homes in Quebec toward Lincoln, NH.
We got to the trail head for Mount Liberty at 8:45. We started on Whitehouse trail and then onto the snowmobile trail for a little while. I had to hurry off the bridge to get to the side of trail when two snowmobiles came by. Whitehouse was a nice flat meandering trail through the woods.
We turned onto Liberty Spring Trail and started up the mountain. The trail was well broken out the whole way. At the start of the day it was a frozen packed trail but by late afternoon everything was very soft. I would say 1/3 of the many people we saw were wearing snowshoes. Everyone else was wearing microspikes or in a couple of cases nothing but boots. Many people switched between spikes and snowshoes throughout the day. We brought our microspikes but opted to wear our snowshoes throughout the day.
The day warmed up steadily. I wore my 3 in 1 winter jacket all day but I definitely didn’t need it. Monica snowshoed in just her long sleeved shirt all day. The Liberty Spring Trail was one long uphill slog. It was a test of endurance that’s for sure. Huge kudos to the lady who broke out the trail on Friday by herself.
I bought new Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes in November and have been itching to try them in the mountains. When Monica and I hiked Mount Jackson in January, we only needed microspikes. I have snowshoed all winter in Quebec in deep snow through the forest and fields but had yet to test them in the mountains. I finally got my chance on Saturday.
The heel lifts were AMAZING on the Liberty Spring Trail. It was the first time I had tried them and I am in love. It really diminished the muscle strain of hours of incline by keeping a more natural position. Monica’s calves were on fire most of the day (and she runs marathons regularly) but my calves were fine with my snowshoes and I felt the work more in my hips and quads. I would wear my snowshoes over my spikes any day just for the heel lifts. Though, they did feel very weird when the trail dipped or flattened out.
There is so much snow in the mountains that all of the trail blazes were super low and close to the snow. When we came to the intersection of Liberty Springs Trail and Franconia Ridge Trail this is what we saw.
We had a sneak peek of Mount Liberty when we got above treeline. The sun felt amazing.
Almost to the summit here.
We made it to Mount Liberty around 1pm. It was amazing at the summit. No wind at all and full sun and blue skies. We had lunch on the summit and chatted with a couple other hikers, Bob and Barb with her super quiet dog, Dillion.
Mount Liberty #21 for us
We continued onto Flume after lunch. That was a fun section. It was about half a mile downhill and half a mile uphill to the summit of Flume. The trail was very powdery and we skied downhill on our snowshoes. We fell a couple of times and just giggled the whole way. It took us about an hour to get to Flume. It was even warmer at Flume than Liberty. We met back up with Bob, Barb and Dillion here. Barb took our photo, thanks Barb!
Mount Flume #22 for us
It took us 5 hours to do the two summits. It was 2:30pm when we headed back down the mountain. I was pretty fatigued when we got back to the summit of Liberty. That extra incline was exhausting to me.
I had a nice little sit down and snack back at Liberty. The sun was so hot, I could have stayed there all day.
Revived by my rest and chocolate bar, we made great time flying down the mountain. It was so fun to slip and slide. Monica tried a little butt sliding. Which was hilarious.
The trail was way softer and not packed anymore. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in only microspikes for the way down in the afternoon. We spent the last hour of the hike chatting with fellow hiker, Bob and met back up with Barb. We all ended up at the parking lot together.
It took Monica and I 5 hours to summit both mountains but only 3 hours to get down. It was a fantastic day and we could not have asked for better weather. As always we can’t wait to get out there again. Happy hiking!
Mount Liberty (4459 feet) and Mount Flume (4328 feet)
#21 & #22 of 48
Distance: 10.1 miles
Time: 8 hours