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Mount Liberty Brings Back Winter

The whole world has gone crazy... I'm going hiking. That's it. I'm done. In a world where we've lost the complete ability to communicate and where violence seems to be the answer of choice, I'm done. I'm going hiking. At least there, I can get quality time with someone who understands (who cares if she has 4 legs and fur), in a place where it's so quiet you can hear your own heart beat... And thank God that it does. I make my living in social services. Helping people who can't help themselves. This week has been... A week. Especially in that field of work. So, yeah instead of chasing after insanity, I'm tuning out and going hiking. 

I chose Mount Liberty on purpose. It's my favorite peak, hands down. I had toyed with crossing over Flume and using the Osseo trail BUT, I was just there at Lincoln Woods last week and well, I needed a break. So, I parked at the Basin in Franconia Notch state park. I'd take the bike path to Liberty Springs Trail. Lil' Nugget and I were not first on the bike path... A deer had used it to get to where it needed to go. Lil' Nugget had fun trying to find said deer too. I was over joyed in watching her. Nose down and cranking down the bike path. We arrived at the turn for the Liberty Springs trail and began walking up the trail. The snow is an inconsistent depth but easy to walk through and it's not frozen under the snow so, it's a little slick. As we climb, we encounter some open seeps that are stepped over. We also meet up with Denise C who is hiking up today. What a fantastic conversation about age, ability, and just being thankful for being out. This was the boost that I needed. Soon after, the wet mess of leaves and water began... Liberty Springs down low is an unfrozen mess. But I am so happy to be out in the snow that I don't care. Around the trail is beautiful and white... It's so quiet even for where it's located (you can usually hear I93). I made note of the Whack for the bike path. I can never find it on the way in but out, it's very easy. 

After the junction for the Flume Slide Trail (and a quick food break), Lil' Nugget and myself continue and hit the series of 5 crossings... One major and four minor. All easy with care. The major has icy rocks but waterproof boots boost confidence. The rock stairs that follow the major crossing are covered in snow but, this too is an easy hike with careful steps. The snow is maybe a couple of inches but I am expecting it to increase with elevation. Liberty Springs has a series of steep gains that take care to navigate where the rocks have not been completely filled in yet. Lil' Nugget and myself continue to navigate and break to catch well, my breath... She's fine. This section, due to it's steepness and length, seems to take forever but in reality, we have plenty of time. Lil' Nugget was playing around, taking 5 steps and stopping. Seems she was looking for someone behind us but there was no one. We struggled a bit getting moving and the temps were dropping. When we got to the Liberty Springs tent site, it was time for veggie lentil soup, cheese, and a short break... Who cares what time it is (before noon). The soup was perfect and Lil' Nugget appreciated the cheese.

Once at the tent site, it's .3 up to the junction of the Franconia Ridge trail. It's a little deeper up here and the snow is a little slicker too. Again, it's so quiet and the snow is so pretty. I don't forget to look up at this point and see that the clouds are still overhead. But at the same time, the tree frame makes is beautiful. We push and soon pop out at the junction. The graffiti on the sign makes me sad and further confirms that we've all completely lost it. And then again, I still love the art work of what I believe is an angry bear on the other sign. Again, we break so I can catch my breath and then we begin our final .2 to the summit proper of Mount Liberty.

After the last section of woods, we climb the rocks and Lil' Nugget found something that she liked to roll in. Poop face and I head to the summit. We break tree line and with some of the rocks filled in, it's easy to the remainder of the ridge.

This is by far my favorite section of trail. It's open and exposed and sheltered at the same time. Easy to get up to the summit proper and even without a view, I love this summit. The prominence of the rocks and the different moods it gives in different weather. If any peak had a personality, this one really does. We crested the rocks and looked out that the clouds. I smiled. I raised my arms in victory because once again, I made it to the top. I take my pictures and that includes a selfie with Lil' Nugget. Really one of the few I'd share a trail with these days. She is my best company, always at my side and fully bonded with me. I'd do anything for her and I'm just happy that she can join me and still wants to join me at that. We begin our descent of the peak as I have lost interest in Flume today. No big deal. We can get it next week if we want... Or not.

It's quick but slow down the Liberty Springs trail again. I can feel the temp rising as we head down. At the tent site, I pulled out my poles to provide balance over the rocks and snow. I should also mention that traction took a holiday today. It's a toss up but I felt there was nothing for it to grab into. There was a few sections of glissading but no butt sledding yet... Not enough snow. I did take some tumbles but nothing serious. Once we were back at the lower trails, not much had changed so the temps had not risen that much. After the Junction for the Flume Slide trail, we found our way to the Whack for the bike path and scooted down that, leaving tracks for others to follow. At the base, we had to find a shallow section to cross the small stream and were back on the bike path to the car. I changed and headed for home after picking up my coffee off of Exit 28. Another fantastic hike to get me ready for winter... West Bond and Adams loom in my future and complete another seeming lofty goal.

The whole world is going crazy and it makes me sad, angry, and so eternally frustrated on some days. I'm a quiet person. You'd never know I was there sometimes (Mouse). And now I'm finding it harder and harder to stay quiet. What have we done to make violence the answer? What have we done to loose the ability to communicate effectively? What have we done? How do we stop this? I don't think anyone knows the answers or maybe we do and we're just afraid of making changes. The whole world's gone crazy... Wouldn't you want that to change for the better? It's the season of Peace.... I can only hope and hike. For in the hiking, I can spend time with myself and know that I am strong, I am smart, and I am determined. I'm proud that at my age (even though it's hard sometimes), I can still get up a mountain and know that I did it on my own. I'm proud of myself. I don't say that enough some days because the worlds gone insane and I'm just trying to find some peace. 

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