August 29, 2012 / Comments (5)

Flume and Liberty: Final Two NH 4000-Footers!

I started this adventure one year and two months ago on the Mt. Osceola and its East peak. My goal was to hike all 48 4000-footers in 2 1/2 to 3 years. The more I hiked, the more I got addicted to it. I couldn’t get enough of the challenge each mountain presented me and the calmness I also felt on the trail. I hiked up slides, in hail, and for many miles. I sometimes feared I wouldn’t have the strength to follow through or my decision to drive up to the Whites would be a mistake due to weather. I was often pleasantly surprised by my fortune this past year. When I hiked Carter Dome it was supposed to pour and thunder, but instead I looked up at clear skies and down on the most beautiful undercast I had ever seen. On Memorial Day weekend, I met my biggest challenge and completed a one day solo presidential traverse. I have hiked about half of the list solo and the other half with friends or with the meetup group I lead: Northeast Peak Baggers. I’ve really enjoyed both kinds of hikes, but wanted to celebrate my final hike with some hiking buddies.
On the morning of August 26th, 2012 I began the end of this quest with Flume and Liberty

Everything started the same as it usually does: going to not quite the right trail head. To go up Mt. Flume via the slide you must go to the Whitehouse Trailhead. You start out on the Whitehouse Trail and at .6 miles you will follow a bike path to the Liberty Spring Trail.




The trail was mostly dry with the exception of this rather muddy section! From the start, the hike is very moderate until you reach the slide. That is where you hit the majority of your elevation gain.

On the way up you cross several streams. None of them were very difficult to navigate.


Here come the rocks! You can’t hike in the Whites without hopping around. At this point we began the climb up. I read somewhere (don’t quote me!) that the slide is a 59 percent grade. On the Flume Slide you climb 1,450 feet in .7 miles. This is a serious undertaking and you should take caution (or another route) if the trail is wet! The slide is a mix of rock slabs that require scrambling and loose rocks. Because of the amount of loose rocks, do not hike too close behind someone.

It is so difficult to take a picture at the right angle to show how steep the trail really is.
Maybe this showcases it better! Ok, we were being a little dramatic.

The hardest part of this trail was climbing to the top of one section, turning a corner and seeing more of the slide. It was a total blast, though! Nothing like a nice challenge to finish the list.

Brenda and Pete scrambling up. We all agreed that trekking poles should be put away for the slide. They just get in the way!


After the slide, there is a nice flat section to catch your breath before hiking the last .1 mile section to Mt. Flume.


360 degree views on the summit of Mt. Flume: 4,328 feet
The famous Anne Pose


The trail to Liberty is 1.1 miles but it felt quicker. It starts out pretty moderate and then you have a steep climb to the summit. I think the excitement of hitting #48 made that leg of the hike fly by.

When I reached the summit, I was elated. It was so satisfying knowing I had completed my goal of hiking all of the 4000 footers in New Hampshire. After some celebrating, another hiker asked which one of us had just completed the list. I told him I had and he responded that I was too young to finish the list. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, but thought it was funny.
One of my fabulous hiking buddies, Brenda made delicious cupcakes for the summit celebration. She lined the container with an ice pack and carried them all the way up the slide in her pack. And I had no idea! Very impressive. Thanks again, Brenda!!

Toasting on top of Mt. Liberty (4,459 feet) with 360 degree views. This is why I saved these two peaks for last.


Panoramic photo taken by Brenda Vail








We did a loop to get back to our cars descending down Liberty Spring Trail, passing a tent site on the AT. We chatted with the caretaker for a little while and later saw a Corgi hiking up. I’ve been seeing a lot of smaller dogs on the trail lately. Maybe they’ve been reading Following Atticus?

A sign posted near the tentsite. Leave no trace!



Here we are back at the trail we used to hike up. Loop hikes are fantastic! At one intersection, one member of our group took a right instead of a left and found his way back to us, but it was a good reminder no matter what to stop at all intersections. We had hiked this section on the way up and we were all hiking pretty close together, but at one point he got separated. You learn a new lesson no matter if it’s your 1st or 48th 4k.

The photo above is a drawing my boyfriend, Keith, made for me. He said he drew a moose for me because I hadn’t seen a single one on the trail! Thank you (along with my family and friends) for all the support.

I feel accomplished having completed the NH 4000-footer List and look forward to the award ceremony in April. I still have plenty to hike, though! Keep an eye out for posts on Vermont and Maine 4000-footers, the rest of the peaks to make up the New England Hundred Highest List, and the the rest of the NH 4Ks for my winter list!

Happy Trails,


Quick Facts:

Approach from: Whitehouse Trailhead (Directions from Boston)
Height: Flume: 4328′
Liberty: 4459′
Distance: 9.9 miles (loop option via flume slide)
Elevation Gain: 3750′
Time:  8:15 with summit party; 6:45 book time (sans party)

Last modified: July 13, 2017

5 Responses to :
Flume and Liberty: Final Two NH 4000-Footers!

  1. Summerset says:

    Congratulations on your finish! It looks like a fabulous hike (we’ll be doing the same hike this weekend!) and looks like everyone had fun, too.

  2. Arkie_in_CT says:

    Congratulations! Looks like you had a beautiful day for your finish line. Flume Slide looks tough, but beautiful and doable. Reminds me of Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail above Gem Pool.

  3. Jesse says:

    Congratulations!! Thats quite an accomplishment. So whats next? COHOS trail maybe? Whatever it is, continue to show us, I do enjoy your posts.

  4. Tom Patterson says:

    Congratulations, 14 months to complete the 48? what’s next? 🙂

    Josh & I did this same loop in June, and we made the same mistake near the bottom of Liberty Spring, bushwhacking through 25 yds of trees to the bike trail. Lesson learned!

  5. Gershon says:

    Wow!. Congratulations.

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