Mt. Liberty-A View for All (Aug. 20, 2012)
Today we hiked to Mt. Liberty with new hiking friends, Amy and her dad Paul. Amy and I have been facebook friends, living in the same state, but had never met in person. Today was our day to meet and hike. Amy and Paul are accomplished hikers, having completed the 48. Mike and I aren’t list followers, more of “we will hike it if it has a view” people. Amy suggested Mt. Liberty and we were off.
We greeted each other at The Basin parking area at 8:30 and quickly hit the trail. The first part was a walk on a bike path until it meet up with the Liberty Springs Trail.
This section of the trail ascends calmly and is comfortable under foot, which on the descent was welcomed from the jarring of the rocks. At 1.1 miles we crossed a brook, which was an easy rock hop.
Immediately after the brook crossing you ascend a rock staircase. From here on out it is a steady climb up on a rocky path. It was a slow climb for me and being in a party of long-legged people, I slowed them down. But going a bit slower allows one to notice all the little things that exist in the forest.
At 2.6 miles we reached The Liberty Spring Tentsite. We spent time chatting with the caretaker and then continued our climb.
Then we hit the steep ascent up to the Franconia Ridge Trail, we turned right for Mt. Liberty.
Anytime we hit a little level part, my legs rejoiced and it gave me a bit energy to keep going.
Amy is training for the Goruck, so she kept encouraging me with the mantra “Embrace the Suck!!” With that saying, my visualizing I was a mountain goat and these level areas, it made it easier to push on. I tend to peter out the last 1/4 mile of any hike that is a steady uphill climb, even though I know I have a wonderful reward at the top.
We had our first peek to some amazing views before the final assault to the summit.
We reach the first false summit to look up and see where we have to go. Amy was waiting for us to arrive.
We arrived and the 360 views were simply incredible. To see all the peaks, I felt as if I was in the center of a mountain universe.
After lunching, snapping photos and sending tweets, we descended.
On our way down, we meet a few thru hikers and groups of students coming up to camp on the platforms. Always fun to chat with people on the trail.
As we ended the hike, Amy noticed a path off to the side that would cut off some of the bike path walk for us. We were all game to try it and avoid the hard surface of the path. We welcomed the extra time in the woods and it did cut off some path walk.
This was a fabulous day, hiking with new friends, bagging another 4,000 that had the most wonderful views and just being outdoors.
The Details: 6.85 miles from The Basin parking lot. 5 hours 48 minutes, total time, elevation gain of 3,250 feet. 360 views