|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Flume, Mt. Liberty, Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Truman, Mt. Lafayette, NH|
||Liberty Spring Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, Greenleaf Trail, Old Bridle Path, bike path|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, April 11, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I parked at the Basin, which has plenty of parking (particularly now that all of the snow has melted!) |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery, Slush |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The water crossing on Liberty Springs was easily rock hoppable. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||There are sporadic blowdowns across all of the trails that I was on; the only thing that appears new is the brushy tree that is down on OBP about 0.2 miles above the FW junction. It’s an awkward step around because the trail is in a drainage, at this point. There are no big trunks to remove; just a lot of branches. The section of Franconia Ridge between Liberty Springs and Little Haystack was new for me. IDK if the snowpack is excessively deep but I spent an extraordinary amount of time ducked down clambering inder tree limbs (I am short so this was a bit unexpected!). This section might need some love this spring. The roping and signs, about fragile alpine vegetation, is intact and does seem to be appropriately directing people in those areas. No visible trail sign damage or vandalism (yay!) |
||I saw two; they seemed happy. |
||Not yet! |
|Lost and Found:
||The trail runner doing the Pemi (I saw him between Flume and Liberty) dropped an incredibly heavy OR package (too heavy to be water) on Franconia Ridge just after Liberty Springs. I know that it was his because his were the only footprints on that trail section. I carried it almost to Little Haystack and left it, hoping that he would head back for it. I’m not sure if he headed down FW or continued across the ridge but I never saw him again. A trail runner coming down OBP found one microspike and carried it out to that trailhead. ||
||Route: Bike path to bushwhack to Liberty Springs to Franconia Ridge and out to Liberty, Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette. Then down Greenleaf to the hut and down OBP to the trailhead. Then under the underpass and the bike path back to the basin. |
Bike path from the Basin to the bushwhack. Snow is gone, pavement is dry.
Bushwhack. That little crossing is a mud pit and the “trail” is running water. Both are just fine!
Liberty Springs. The trail is mud in the typical spots down low. The ice flows start on the steeps and you can see the tree hugging that people are doing. It was still right around freezing when I ascended but my beater Hillsound trail crampons were fine.
Franconia Ridge Trail out to Flume. I brought my snowshoes but the new snow was only 2-3” and there is a really solid base under it so I didn’t use them at all today. I actually bare booted between Flume and Liberty because the ice balling was a problem and traction was not. I did no postholing and neither did the Pemi loop trail runner that I saw between these peaks.
Franconia Ridge Trail from Liberty Springs to Little Haystack is lightly used but still has a solid base. I followed the trail runner’s footsteps and he was absolutely right on the trail, but we both postholed a few times working around downed trees. I thought about putting on my snowshoes but the snow was so sticky and the postholing only happened a few times so I did not. The ledgy section with the ladder was a bit slow because it was really slushy, but it is passable going up.
Franconia Ridge from Little Haystack to Lafayette had already seen more than a dozen pairs of boots when I got up there at 10am (on a Monday!!) - it was an absolutely picture perfect day to be above treeline!! People were traveling in both directions around the typical loop. I put on microspikes because everyone else had them on and I had FOMO (LOL) but honestly, if I had been by myself, it would not have occurred to me to use them, and I am not sure if they were necessary or helpful in this section. The new snow was sticky enough that any ice on that section of the ridge is not currently a problem.
Greenleaf from Lafayette to the hut has just enough snow that the no-fall zone near the summit cone was not as terrifying, for me, as it usually is! My beater spikes gave me confidence for the descent, and I didn’t need my crampons. I pulled off my spikes for the last 0.3 miles of this section due to the snowballing.
OBP is mostly a slushfest. I put on my beater spikes again and kept them on until the mud at the bottom and I think that they helped on the descent. OBP must have been terrible when it was frozen. The bane of my existence (ie Agony Ridge) is happily mostly open rock and running water, at this point, so the agony is the sound of microspikes being dulled by granite. The good news is that if it all freezes again, it might not be so bad because everyone is churning up the slush so at least it won’t be a smooth sheet!!
Franconia Bike Path between Lafayette campground and the Basin. I know that everyone dislikes this walk but it was idyllic today. There were duck families and human families and everyone was enjoying the sunshine and the views. The Basin was crowded with people enjoying the day, and asking a lot of questions about local attractions!
I loved this loop (I’ve not traversed the whole ridge in one hike, before) and would highly recommend this! In case this helps you, the described route was 14.9 miles with 5212’ of gain and took me just under 9 hours hiking time, with about an hour of gawking at the views and talking to other hikers.
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.