A Path Less Traveled – More on Franconia Notch SP

Which path shall we take?DSC07981Let’s take the Flume Slide Trail!

So when a park ranger raved about this trail, I thought I’d give it a try.  After all, it was a loop hike that took in part of the spectacular Franconia Ridge Trail and I’ve often extolled the virtues of Franconia Notch State Park.  But there’s a reason this is a trail less traveled…

An easier section of the last half-mile in the Flume Slide Trail

An easier section of the last half-mile in the Flume Slide Trail

Although most of the Flume Slide Trail was comfortable and fairly easy, it was the final half-mile or so that was grueling.  The guidebooks say that this is inappropriate for a descent, which is true.  In addition I would add that it is really tough after an all-night rain.  My boots just would not cling to the bare rock surfaces you must clamber up so I followed some other tracks through the trees to the side of the trail, nearly getting myself lost in the bargain.  When I finally reached the Franconia Ridge Trail, I was exhausted.

Mt Flume

Mt Flume

Franconia Ridge view

Franconia Ridge view

Mt Liberty

Mt Liberty

Of course the ridge trail did not disappoint and certainly made up for the ascent and the rain that began on the way down.  Next time, unless it’s nice and dry, I’ll definitely take the Liberty Springs Trail (AT) to the ridge.

Happy travels!

A further comment: I parked at the Basin and hiked south on the bike path to the trailhead.  On the way back I chose to make it a true loop by crossing the Pemigewasset River on the AT and returning north on the Pemi Trail, which parallels the bike trail.  I was surprised to see how poorly marked (and little used) the Pemi Trail was between The Basin and Whitehouse Bridge.  Maybe it was the rain or damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011 (or maybe it was just me) but at one point I lost the trail completely.

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