Liberty + Flume
Ever upwards on the luge
Pretty straightforward hike up to Liberty and Flume. The trail was stable enough to bareboot it for a few miles before we got to the luge trail where many chose to sled rather than hike down, creating a pretty steep slope that required traction. The first 2 miles the trail gently winds up through the forest to the tranquil sound of snowmobiles ripping alongside the interstate (meh), but then you forget about that as the 2 mile climb straight up begins. In the winter, this is especially monotonous as you’re literally hiking up a smoothed luge, rather than steps.
We had a bit of a view atop Liberty, but we made haste before the sweat could cool us in the light breeze. Between Liberty and Flume I could tell some progress on the blowdowns had been made since my last trip up there (December 2017), but it was still basically wading through pokey evergreen branches the whole way. The trail was also less trafficked and so we put on our snowshoes to aid in that effort. We were pretty annoyed by all the ducking and getting poked the time we reached Flume, though perhaps it was just thinking of having to turn around and do the whole thing again.
The way back to Liberty felt considerably less annoying, and we made great time back down to the car. We opted to run down the luge in our snowshoes rather than slide.