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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mt. Flume (#47) -- August 20, 2009

Lincoln Woods Trail, Osseo Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail.

11.2 miles, roundtrip.

Next weekend, Alex and I will finish our quest for the Four Thousand Footers on Mt. Moosilauke. It's been an interesting fifteen months of growth for both of us. We've learned quite a few life lessons as we've huffed, puffed, postholed, sweated, frozen, climbed, fallen, and gotten back up. The two of us have drawn strength from each other in moments of physical and emotional stress, and we've shared many joyous moments of deep connection to our beautiful Mother Earth. I could not have asked for a better 4K hiking partner (except, of course, for Sage, if she ever chooses to embark upon the same quest).

I will always remember these times with Alex. It is my hope that for the rest of her childhood and beyond, she looks back fondly on our adventures chasing New Hampshire's highest peaks.

For nostalgia's sake, I politely declined the company of other people for Flume, our 47th peak. I wanted one last hike alone with my daughter.

Our original ascent route included Flume's slide. However, after the Owls Head slide and the Tripyramid slides, Alex decided she was all slided out. We had heard many nice things about Osseo Trail, so we chose to use that approach instead.

We reached Lincoln Woods and started on our way.

After 30 minutes of hiking, we reached Osseo Trail.

Osseo Trail is very mellow. The footing is excellent, the grades are mostly easy, and the birch trees are lovely.

Along the way, we noticed quite a few of these (seven, to be exact):

Upon reaching the first of the stone steps (at the 3.5 mile mark), we sat down and took a water break.

Then up we went, stopping every now and then to admire fungi.

We soon came across the ladders. Climbing these wooden steps is a cinch...much easier than trying to haul ourselves up over steep rocks and roots.

Now one mile from the summit, we took an early lunch break. A sign saying "downlook" guided us to an appropriate rest spot.

After sating ourselves, we continued on our way.

The trail flattened out after the last of the ladders, giving our sore knees a welcome reprieve from the steep climbing.

Shouts of "wooooot" were heard in the distance as we approached the intersection with the Flume Slide Trail. There appeared to be a couple of male hikers who had just finished their climb and were very happy about it.

We reached the trail sign indicating that we were only a tenth of a mile from the summit. The joyous male hikers remained ahead of us, whooping and hollering with glee.

We climbed a few dozen feet and came out onto a rocky ledge, where we met the two joyous men. They both seemed ecstatic to be up there...well, who wouldn't be? We exchanged a few pleasantries and continued toward the summit.

Once at the summit, one of the men offered to take our picture. He was kind and took a bunch of shots. Later, when I asked Alex which one she wanted in our blog, she asked that I post the following three.

Clouds covered the sky, but they didn't totally obscure the views.

Out came the whoopie pies, and the two of us lounged around for 45 minutes eating, drinking, and feeling fine.

Eventually the clouds drifted away, and I was able to get a clear view of Mt. Garfield in the distance.

We waved to nearby Mt. Liberty before leaving Flume's highest point....

...then we dropped down a few dozen feet to the ledge nearest the trees. Here we lounged about for a few minutes more, Alex drawing a summit picture and me admiring the now-clear vista.

When we were ready, we bade farewell to the views and headed back down into the woods.

The hike down was routine, Alex moving at a fast pace and me periodically asking her to slow down. We covered the 4.1 miles back to Lincoln Woods Trail in about two hours. Along the way, we discussed a variety of topics, including how to deal with sexist boys, germ theory and Swine Flu, and how much better descents are when the trail is covered in snow.

Upon reaching Lincoln Woods Trail, we both sat and rested by the nearby stream.

A flat 1.5 miles later and we were back where we had started.

Our total time was just under 9 hours, and that includes our 45 minute rest on the summit.

Next stop: Mt. Moosilauke on August 29.


  1. Cherish every step and every second on Moosilauke. Good Luck.

  2. AMAZING!!! hahaha loved the pics too!!! I am SSOOOOOO excited for you both! but am sad to see it coming to an end I so enjoy reading about the journey!! Anyways I will be stuck at work 11am-11pm Saturday but I will be thinking about you guys and anticipating the blog entry to follow!! Congrats both of you!!

    Douglas Albanese
    West Lebanon NH


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