Trail: Liberty Springs to Mount Liberty
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation: 4,459 feet
Date Hiked: September 12, 2016
This was Day One of our trek from Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch.
I almost skipped this day because, honestly, the trail isn’t that interesting for the first 3.5 miles. Just climbing and climbing and climbing some more. Nothing as gnarly as the Kinsmans. Just unrelenting up hill.
Solid one mile per hour.
It’s a dues-paying kind of hike, where you spend most of the day just paying your dues until you get to the special treat at the end.
But there was a special treat at the end and an idea for my next challenge, so I decided to add this to the mix of Friday Faves.
We got off to a late start because we drove over to Crawford Notch where we left the car and met our taxi for a ride back to the Liberty Springs trailhead.
Our taxi driver was from Tennessee, of all places. She didn’t hike. But she smoked like a champ.
After she dropped us at noon, up we went to the Liberty Springs tent site. We got passed by a skinny thru-hiker who had come from Eliza Brook shelter that morning and planned to make it to Garfield Shelter.
I knew that was ridiculous-sounding, having just been kicked in the shins by the 10 miles from Eliza Brook to Franconia Notch, but, OMG. What he was going to do in a day ended up taking us three days. With a rest day in between to get our mental shit together.
Thru-hikers are nuts.
We finished our three miles, set up camp, then decided to hike up to Mount Liberty, the treat at the end of day one.
Post Thru-Hike Depression is a Thing
One tidbit I learned from Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis is that post-thru-hike depression is a thing.
I can see how.
After spending six months on the trail having a grand adventure, how could normal life possibly compare?
Have another grand thing to look forward to. Something that doesn’t involve a cubicle, preferably.
I’ve known for a while that my next thing would be to complete the 4,000 footers in the White Mountains.
I don't have the stats handy, but I'm about a quarter of the way through. And Day 1 of our five day “sufferfest” took me one mountain closer.
Too close to ignore.
Mount Liberty was too close to ignore, even though it's not on the Appalachian Trail.
So we climbed the extra half mile to the top. Because we can.
It reminded me of how fortunate we are to be able to climb. To experience places that most people will never, ever get to see. To sit alone on top of a granite peak as the sun goes down, looking out over the vastness, remembering how big the world actually is and how small we make it when we go about our routine lives.
The Year of the 4,000 Footers
So, 2018 will be the year of the 4,000 footers. Maybe I’ll start right here on the Liberty Springs trail, with the Liberty Springs tent site as base camp.
We met a woman and her sheltie who were spending the night at the Liberty Springs tent site then slack-packing up to Mount Liberty and on to Mount Flume the next day. They would spend one more night at the tent site, then head down to the car the morning after.
I love that plan!!
We stood on top of Mount Liberty, spinning around and enjoying the 360 degree views. Naming some of the peaks we knew—Lincoln, Washington, Owl’s Head, Moosilauke, the Kinsmans, the Cannon Balls, Cannon.
The moon was rising over Mt. Flume.
Perfection in the mountains.
Now, if I’m lucky, I won’t fall of the tent platform in the middle of the night. If I do, our trip is done.