This September, I decided to hike Mt.Flume (4328 ft.) as my first 4000 footer due to the trailhead being 100 yards down the road from Hancock Campground on the Kancamangus Highway where I stayed. I didn’t actually do any research on this peak as I had planned on doing Mt. Lafayette, but it was closer and smaller and a better peak to start with.
The trail starts at the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center, a two minute drive from Hancock. A suspension Bridge crossing the East Branch Pemigewasset Rivier and runs 1.4 miles on the Linclon Woods Trail, a nice flat and wide trail running parallel to the river. Lots of people were out enjoying the sunny early fall weather and light foliage, many riding bikes. The trail turns left at a brook and heads up the Osseo Trail. The actual peak is out of your site the entire time but you can view Potash Knob (2684 ft.) and Whaleback Mountain (3586 ft.) most of the way up this time of year. This was a bit intimidating for a first time climber as Mt. Flume is 1k feet higher and Whaleback which loomed menacingly tall.
Probably the first 2.5 to 3 miles are a mild but steady incline with the sound of rushing water from the brook within earshot and a short but steep bushwhack from the trail. I was in awe of the solitude of the trail as I only came across 4 people in about 2-3 hours on a warm Saturday. After awhile there’s a switchback and the grade gets much steeper for the next mile or so, with stairs and steep steps. There is one good eastward lookout towards the end of the steep part with views of Owl’s Head and the Bonds etc. The last mile or so is much easier with some interesting forest.
I think I ran the last hundred yards to the peak to finally get my first view of all the effort. views for about 20 minutes. I was impressed at how much higher I was than Loon Mountain Ski Area which looked tiny.
Also the huge rock slides down the West face of the peak where crazy. I had initially planned on bagging Mt. Liberty as well but after the exhausting march to the top, the extra 3 mile peak to peak round trip made me reconsider leaving it for another day. Awesome view of Franconia Ridge from here.
After snapping some pics and lying in the sun a bit, I headed down and decided to check out Franconia Falls on my way out. These are really interesting falls, I would recommend this as a day trip for families.
I ended up staying a bit too long and made the 2+ mile trip back in the dark with my head lamp, desperate for a few IPAs and a meal.
All in all I have a healthy new respect for the beauty of these peaks and the effort it requires to get to the top. Looking forward to summiting the remaining 47.
Total length: 14.2 miles
Total Vert: Approximately 3k
Sound track: Mastadon – Crack the Skye, This or The Apocalypse – Monuments, A Perfect Circle – Thirteenth Step.
Nearby attractions: Lincoln, NH – Good cafes and some good restaurants. Loon Mountain.
New Gear Testing: REI Traverse 30L. Platypus Hoser 3.0L Reservoir