Spent a cool, partly sunny day wandering in the quiet and beautiful Flume Brook valley under the west side of Mt. Flume. Hiked up the Flume Slide Trail to the first ledge scramble, then dropped back down to the valley floor and whacked up the steep south ridge of Mt. Liberty to a series of three granite crags with good views.
AMC trail signs at the Liberty Spring/Flume Slide split.
The lower 2+ miles of the Flume Slide Trail is a very enjoyable, easy walk through a fine mature northern hardwood forest. Grades are slight to moderate and the footing is mostly good.
As I hiked deeper into the valley, the distant rumble of motorcycles was replaced by sweet birdsong.
One of several tributaries of Flume Brook crossed along the way.
An arrow points the way at a confusing spot on the second crossing of Flume Brook.
A great old yellow birch.
A nice feeling of remoteness in the upper valley.
The trail climbs rubble and outwash from the old slide for quite a distance before it reaches the tricky ledges.
The first ledge scramble appears at about 3100 ft. Though dry, the polished rock was as smooth and slippery as I remembered from a long-ago ascent. I tested my boots on it and they were slipping off. Approach shoes would be better. There are, of course, beaten paths through the woods around the trickiest spots. From here, I descended 450 ft. back to the valley floor for my planned bushwhack to the "Liberty Crags."
Heading up through some beautiful open birch woods, legacy of a 1908 forest fire.
The terrain soon turned steep and rocky.
One of several old sled roads that cut across this slope.
There are many crags hidden in the forest.
After a very steep, circling approach, I emerged on the first of the set of three crags on this ridge.
Vista out towards Mt. Wolf, Mt. Moosilauke and the Cushman-Kineo-Carr group.
A peek at Mt. Flume and its col with Hardwood Ridge.
Nice birch glade en route to the next crag, 200 ft. higher in elevation. Some of the woods on this ridge were not so nice.
A wider SW view from the second crag.
Zoom on Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Wolf. The Flume Visitor Center can be seen down below.
I climbed another 200 ft. to the third crag, the prize spot of the day, hanging high above the upper Flume Brook valley. It took a while to find it.
Mt. Flume is seen directly across the valley, from base to summit.
An excellent perspective on the great slides on Flume's west face.
The lower slabs of the slides look ominously steep and slippery.
Hikers enjoying the view on the craggy summit of Flume.
Quite a perch.
The ledge is well-guarded.
Glimpse of yet another crag higher on the ridge. Maybe another time.
For part of the descent back to the trail I followed a steep old sled road.
Then just back down through the woods to the trail, and a mellow walk out.