The mountains are calling and I must go.

My favorite quote from John Muir says it all.  Sometimes the mountains are just calling my name.


Last weekend was a long weekend here and we headed up to New Hampshire on Saturday.  I was scheduled to do a ‘short 30 mile easy’ bike ride on Sunday but in my mind and my heart, I had bigger plans.  I typically ask my coach for permission to do such a thing (like changing my workout), but I didn’t bother because I knew what the answer would be ‘Kristin a 10 mile hike is too much volume for the end of your recovery week.”  I am one to always follow my plan, to a T, but I just couldn’t last weekend, I needed to be in the mountains, my happy place.

We had been watching the forecast for Sunday and it wasn’t looking too great in the higher elevations. Being in the Northeast, most of the NH mountains are 3,000 to 5,000+ feet in elevation.  Todd and I are currently working on our 4,000 footer list, which is the (48) 4,000 foot peaks in NH.  We have completed 32 of them and have 16 to go! The list includes all mountains in NH that are at or over 4,000 feet.  It’s considered a badge of honor in these parts of the woods to hike all of the 48.

Our game plan was to wake up early on Sunday and meet our friend Steve (Todd’s best bud from College) to go hike Mt Wambeck, one of the 4,000 footers that we still had to check off our list.  This hike is about a 1.5 hour drive north of my parent’s house. We picked this hike because the views aren’t supposed to be that great from the summit, and it’s quite wooded… the forecast was calling for rain showers and clouds.  As we started our drive into the White Mountains, the sky started to open up and I instantly wanted to do a hike that would give us the best views possible! I could tell it was going to turn into a beautiful day and I wanted to take advantage!  It was a very split second decision (we were literally one mile from the trail head), but I made the decision to do Mt Flume and Mt Liberty instead. This would be a 10.1 mile loop hike in Franconia Notch, which is one of the most beautiful locations to hike in NH. Todd and I had done this hike before, years ago, but it would be the first time for Steve.  The only time Todd and I hiked these mountains, it was cloudy and we didn’t see the views clearly… this prompted me to want to hike it even more!

Here is a little recap of our hike:

Peaks hiked: Mt Liberty (4,459 ft) and Mt Flume (4,328 ft)

Total Distance 10.1 Mile loop hike

Trails: Whitehouse trail, Liberty Spring trail, Flume Slide trail

The brave souls: Myself, my husband Todd, our friend Steve, Dogs: Aspen, Steve’s dog (lab mix) and Oliver our dog (westie)

We started at around 9:00 AM from the Whitehouse Trailhead parking lot.  We had to walk on a short bike path (.9 miles) to get to the Whitehouse trail (.6 miles) and then Liberty Spring trail (2.3 miles). Once we got to Liberty Spring, we took this rocky/steep trail up to Mount Liberty.  Most of the trail was completely uphill, at times not letting up. I was jealous of our four legged friends, Aspen and Oliver, who made climbing look so easy!  People often ask me if we have to carry Oliver when we hike (he’s about 20 lbs with short legs). My answer is no, because he is a tenacious little dog who has been hiking since he was a puppy!  We always make sure he has enough food and water for the hikes and I like to think that he loves it as much as we do!

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Climbing up the Liberty Spring trail

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Here is a map of what we covered during our hike:

map liberty flume

Once we got near the top of Liberty, I was beaming with excitement.  I love that moment when you are about to summit a mountain.  There is a sense of accomplishment and thrill.  I wish I could bottle up the feeling of being on top of a mountain, especially one that you worked so hard to summit. It makes all of the hard work and sweat worth it.

Here are some photos from the summit of Mt Liberty:

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Kristin's iPhone 5.27.14 303Our little hiking family

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From Liberty we hiked 1.2 miles to the Summit of Mt Flume.


Oliver the hiking westie!

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Livin’ on the edge!

10338864_10100147237641827_8147897165214856719_nTodd, Me & Steve

Kristin's iPhone 5.27.14 247Looking from the summit of Flume to Mt Liberty (where we just were!)

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From the Summit of Flume, our choice was to either retrace our steps back over Liberty and go down the way we came (via Liberty Spring) OR take the VERY step Flume Slide trail down Flume.  Both ways were about equal in distance to get back to our car, but the Flume Slide is treacherous and not recommended on the descent.  Most people go up the Flume Slide trail and hike the loop the reverse way we did (Flume first and then Liberty).  I did not realize this until we were hiking up Liberty (oops!).  We had lots of people tell us along the way that going down Flume Slide is not recommended, especially during spring when the rocks are wet and slippery.  We decided to take our chances and try the Flume Slide.

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If I could do it again, I would not have gone down Flume Slide.. it was the steepest trail I have ever descended and it was very wet (hence why I have no photos of us going down the trail). We had to duck into the woods often to avoid falling on the slippery rocks.  The dogs did great, us humans on there other hand were having a difficult time.  The steep and dangerous section lasted for about a mile, and then things got ‘easier.’  All in all, the hike took us about 6 hours (including a nice lunch break on the summit of Flume).  It was a fantastic day and probably one of my favorite hikes to date!  I seriously could have stayed up on those mountains all day long. Hiking in the White Mountains is my true happy place. I am so grateful for my strong legs and heart that allow me to hike these majestic peaks.

Do you hike where you live?  What are you favorite things about hiking?


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  • Reply Abby May 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    So gorgeous!! And I had NO idea NH had so many mountains! Good call on choosing scenic when it turned into such a gorgeous day!
    Love that Oliver hikes with you. At the tops of mountains people are always amazed Harold (also 20 lbs) climbed by himself. He usually does better than us!
    Glad you went ahead and did the hike on a cutback week!
    I adore hiking anywhere in our Rockies- Jasper or Banff or Radium area in BC! The options are almost endless.

    • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Yes NH has TONS of mountains, it’s amazing! I love how Harold is the same size as Oliver (20 ilbs) so cute! Isn’t it amazing seeing them scramble over rocks? I am always jealous of his speed and agility during a hike. I am insanely jealous that you hike in the Canadian Rockies… I can only dream of going there one day!

  • Reply Bryanna May 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I love the pictures!! How fun. HIking is the greatest!! I hope to hike a lot this summer, because I don’t know what it will be like with a baby next summer. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you so much! Hiking IS the greatest..I wish I could hike every day. Hope you’re feeling great!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats May 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    WOW!!! What a day/hike!! Looks gorgeous!! What a goal of all 48 x 4000ers. You have already done so many already!! How long have you been working on this list?!

    • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you, it was an amazing hike! We have been working on our 48 list since 2010… our goal is to complete the rest on our list by the end of this year!

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust May 30, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    You and your hubby are seriously too cute. Are you supposed to look that good after hiking that far? 😉 Seriously those views and mountains are pretty spectacular. Hiking is actually one of my FAVORITE things to do during the warmer months when I am not on the bike or in the pool. We have a lot of hiking areas around here that will be opening up once the snow is gone – a couple of my favorites are the Pacific Crest Trail and South Sister. I can’t believe little Oliver tracks all of those miles with you guys! That is one athletic family.

    • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      You are too sweet, thank you! The mountains in NH ARE spectacular… honestly it’s so gorgeous up there! Such a special place in my heart. If it weren’t for triathlons, I would probably hike every weekend. I just love it so much and it’s such an awesome way to spend time outdoors. I would LOVE to hike on the PCT one day, that is a dream hike for sure!

  • Reply erin June 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Totally agree… how can you pass up a hike with views that gorgeous?! Perfect day – and, so fun that your pup hikes with you! 🙂 We don’t have a ton of hiking in MSP, though there are some great trails along Lake Superior near Duluth that are beautiful. My favorite hike to date: Stawamus Chief near Whistler, BC.

    • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Exactly! I could not pass it up. And yes, I love how Oliver hikes with us, he loves it! It’s so hard finding a balance with IM training and other fun things, like hiking. I sort of miss the flexibility in my life… I dream of going to BC. Canada. I feel like I’d want to move there!

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