“I swear I don’t remember it being this steep!”
That little figure is my five-foot-eleven best friend, probably wishing she’d never met me.
I’d sold her on Mt. Liberty, remembering from my last trip up this mountain (364 days before) that it only took about 4 hours and there was a spectacular view. Besides, I figured it was short enough (and with sufficient parking at the trailhead!) that we could get a bit of a later start.
I guess I just blocked the steep uphill suffering out of my memory.
To be fair, it starts out so mellow. The White House Trail undulates gently up and down through hardwood forest before dumping hikers out onto the bike path, ruled in the winter by snowmobiles, for 0.2 miles to Liberty Spring Trail.
Even then, Liberty Spring Trail is pretty gradual for the first mile or so.
Until suddenly you’re hiking straight up.
I was sweating in the 20 degree air in just my base layer with no hat or mittens – that’s how strenuous that uphill is!
Luckily I could distract myself with the beautiful snow-scape around me, though that very milky sky had me worried.
The forecast had called for partly cloudy skies, and I’d promised my friend that the view on this mountain was amazing.
This is one of my photos from 2019. The view from Liberty is really unique among the 4,000 footers, in my opinion.
And that’s the carrot I kept using to encourage and entice my friend up the mountain. There were puddles of bright light even as we entered the alpine zone, so I kept my hopes high.
We broke above treeline and….
Here’s almost the exact same shot from 364 days before:
We butt-sledded down what we could, though I opted to walk much more than sled to stay warmer. Besides, her ‘sled’ (an industrial trash bag) was way faster than mine (an extra hardshell). Still, we made it back to the parking lot in less than half the time it took us to get to the summit.
And I’m happy to report that I’ve converted yet another 3-season hiker into a 4-season hiker – we’ll be back!