Yvonne and I stayed in the Woodstock area after our hike on Mounts Liberty and Flume, intending to do another hike on Friday, but after the unbelievable high of Thursday’s undercast we didn’t want to try our luck too much. We awoke to dreary skies again, with a little rain. The clouds were higher than the day before, so I didn’t think we’d have the same luck with being above the clouds if we tried another 4000 footer. Instead, we chose a relaxing hike and an early trip back to Keene.
|Walking along the Flume Brook, traction devices were very nice to have.|
My guess is that the Flume Gorge is a pretty busy tourist stop in the summer and fall, but today it was just us and a Canadian family out to enjoy the loop trail. There were less than three inches of snow on the ground for the entire loop trail, but much of it was solid ice so we opted for Microspikes the whole way. With the warm temperatures, the ice wasn’t too hard, and the spikes worked better than ever.
|And the railings certainly didn’t hurt, either.|
We had a short and easy walk into the bottom of the gorge, where the boardwalk that normally runs the entire way up the gorge was closed and dismantled about halfway up. This is normal for the winter, so I guess I’ll have to come back in summer sometime to walk the whole way, but seeing it without the crowds was pretty great. And there’s a bypass trail, so we were able to walk along the rim of the gorge to get to the top, where there were more views.
|Looking down the Flume into the ice and fog.|
From the top of the gorge, we continued along the Flume Loop Trail to see The Pool, a deep chasm with three very nice spots to stop and look over the river. For a loop of just over 1.5 miles, this is a pretty great time. The family that started on the hike with us had three kids under the age of thirteen, and they all seemed to be having a great time. A short hike like this, especially with large cliffs and gorges involved, is like a dream come true for young children. I could see the parents were raising their children right, with a love of the outdoors properly instilled.
|The Pool, and the Sentinel Bridge, a covered bridge built on a fallen tree.|
Soon after we returned to the car, a light drizzle finally let loose from the clouds. Not bad timing. We took our time getting back to Keene, and got back to doing work. The two days at Franconia Notch will probably be my last snowy hiking until November or December, but what a fine way to end the season.
Check out the full gallery of pictures for the Liberty, Flume, and Flume Gorge trip here.