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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little Haystack and Mt. Liberty, September 19, 2010

Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, Liberty Springs Trail, Franconia Bike Path. About 10 miles.

Last weekend, Alex and I decided to knock another Trailwrights peak off the list. Little Haystack is close to our home -- I know we just did Franconia Ridge two weeks ago with Sage, but Alex and I felt like revisiting the area.

This hike marked our first time ascending Falling Waters Trail; we've always done the loop clockwise, going up Old Bridle Path and DOWN Falling Waters. We looked forward to seeing the waterfalls in the morning, while we were still fresh. In the past, we've been too tired to properly appreciate them.

The falls were indeed gorgeous. I captured one on film...

We ascended quickly; Alex hiked faster than she ever has before. We made it to Shining Rock in about two hours.

While at the intersection with the spur trail, what should we find but...

a friendly Gray Jay!

The critter was cute. He checked out our snacks before flying toward the peak.

Near the top, we turned and took in the nice view of Cannon and Bald Mountain...

A tenth of a mile later, we reached the summit of Little Haystack.

The day was foggy. We glanced toward Lincoln, which was immersed in cloud, and decided we didn't feel like heading that way. After all, we had just been on top of that one two weeks ago. Our options therefore became a) go back down, or b) head over to Mt. Liberty. I left it up to Alex, who ate a while and thought it over before announcing her desire to head south. There 'tis, almost 2 miles away.

Now you see it... you don't.

Off we went...

Before descending into the col, the trail opened up and afforded us a lovely view of both Liberty and Flume.

We ambled amicably, enjoying each other's company and covering a wide variety of topics. Alex and I have always shared pleasant conversation on the trail, but our discussions grow deeper and more meaningful as she grows. I must be the most fortunate hiker out there, to have such intelligent and affable company.

Up the summit cone of Liberty...

Alex and I were last here on a cold and blustery winter day, when the summit had been enveloped in icy fog. We were happy to have some views this time around. The scene from Liberty's peak is mighty purty...

After lounging about for a bit, we headed down Liberty Springs Trail. Both of us decided that this trail is MUCH more exciting with a ton of snow on it. Our descent time was about half an hour back when we did this for the winter list, since we slid on our backsides most of the way down. This time, unfortunately, we had to walk.

Our weary legs held up just fine, though we were both complaining of sore knees by the end of the trail.

Now...our car. It was two and half miles away, back at the parking lot for Falling Waters/Old Bridle Path. Alex and I sighed and began slogging our way up the Franconia Bike Path.

We walked for about a mile before reaching the parking lot for the Basin. An elderly couple was unlocking their car; the man's arm was in a cast and they both looked grandparent-ish...though I'm not a fan of hitchhiking, I figured no harm would befall us if we asked them for a ride. They graciously drove us the remaining mile and a half to our vehicle.

Half an hour later we were eating pizza at the Common Man in North Woodstock.

Another enjoyable hike with my oldest.

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