Flumes, Liberty and Woodstock

Last week was a blizzard of activity explaining why there hasn’t been a post on here for a while.  This week is much more of the same type of activity.  Apart from the actual blizzard last Saturday night – unique in October, unwanted, unwelcome and unexpected.

In the past couple weeks I’ve managed to run one five kilometer race.  The Monster Mini-Dash downtown Providence.  Once again, I donned the Catholic Nun outfit for this event.  Many thanks to Brien Lang for his generous donation of the nun outfit as I absentmindedly arrived to the Colonial without a costume.  I would like to think there is something unique about walking through downtown Providence dressed in a plus size nun outfit.  It is not often that perfect strangers call me “sister.” Or Providence’s finest gesture to each other as if to say “look at this coming toward us.”  Or Providence’s finest actually saying in an audible voice “look at this one coming down the street.”

Once again I’m a bit sore from hiking.  This trip was Mt. Flume and Mt. Liberty with Joe and Nate.  The first three miles of this hike were literally a walk in the park.  Flat.  Random easy little stream crossings.  Little and gradual elevation gain.  Fast pace set.  Feeling like champions.  Not feeling like I spent a few hours the previous evening at the Wick Pub and ate onion rings, french fries and hot wings for dinner.

The character of our hike changes once we hit “that” stream crossing.  On most of these White Mountain hikes I’ve done, there is that, “final” stream crossing before the mountain finally erupts from the earth.  No more will we traverse but we will go straight up.  Steeply at first.  Even steeper at the finish.  We hiked the Flume slide trail, aptly named because it ascends the rocky Flume slide which must have been a landslide or avalanche path some time ago.  Corroded wet ice met us at several points of the hike up the slide.  Apart from having to be very careful climbing the slide, the conditions were superb.  Temperatures in the 40s, very little wind and phenomenal views in all directions.  While winter was in full effect at about 3,000 feet, the snow was thin and navigable without snowshoes.  I do believe that the next few weeks will require winter equipment though.  The truth be told, the views from this hike rank up there with finest I have ever seen.

After making it to the top of Flume and stopping to admire the fantastic view we headed down towards Mt. Liberty.  Liberty had a dramatic view from its summit.  From my reckoning, much of Vermont was visible.  I did recognize Camel’s Hump, distant yet unmistakable.  Camels Hump always reminds me of that time with an old rear wheel drive Buick, something involving car inspection and the police, February, hurricane force winds, sleet, rain changing to snow, skiing something we shouldn’t have, summer tires and unmaintained dirt roads.  I think I was able to recognize Mansfield with its human face profile.  The white massif of the Presidential Range was visible over the ridge of Mt. Bond creating an incredible view.  I was amazed especially at the clarity in which we could see both the cliffs, and the shadows they made  on Mt. Bond.  After spending some time on the summit of Liberty, we descended through the light snow pack back down the mountain.

I do wonder how the party that was going to descend the Flume slide made out.  Along with the college students who hiked up the Liberty Spring trail in designer jeans, sneakers and T-shirts.  Not that I’m one to talk – I had on my usual Saucony trainers.

True to form, we stopped at the Woodstock Inn for a pint and a snack after this.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to write about my exciting planned AM workout comprised of 4 x 1 mile repeats.  Maybe even I’ll have the good fortune to discuss my planned five to eight miles in the evening followed by some time at the rock gym.  Or maybe all of this running business will have to wait as my car is sick and needs the shop.

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