Liberty Springs Tentsite

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Aug 21 , 1983 Sunday (382 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Today, the first two miles of the trail involved climbing up the south peak of Kinsman Mountain. After that there was a dip before ascending to North Kinsman Peak. I remember that a few places along the trail I encountered trail that was more kin to rock climbing than trail walking. The trail came to an abrupt vertical wall of stone, with the trail continuing from the top of the ledge sometimes more than ten feet above. Some areas like this had wooden ladders constructed of pine trees nailed together, while others actually involved some rock climbing, perhaps because the ladders were destroyed. The skies were unfortunately cloudy this morning, hanging just above the lower peaks, and providing views under the ceiling of the clouds, but no bright blue sky.

Upon reaching Kinsman Pond Shelter I found a couple of packs, but no bodies to go with them. The owners must have been out on a day hike and would return later. Perhaps they belonged to John Smart and "The Trail Walker." I stopped for a break and to read and sign the register there. Unfortunately someone tore out three quarters of the pages before the owner had it returned. I was included in the later loss of pages, but the remainder can be seen here. By this time the skies had begun to clear and the makings of a brilliant day were on the way. I descended off the mountain toward the first of the White Mountain huts run by the AMC at Lonesome Lake. I decided to check the place out and see how they run things. Upon entering the hut, I was informed by a chalkboard sign that there was lasagna for sale. These were left over from the previous evenings meal, but I decided to have some. I was given a large helping and then treated to some free left over pineapple upside down cake. I hung around the place waiting for the girls from New York, but they never showed up. So much for my Sierra Cup. I guess the hut crew must have decided that there was no sense keeping the rest of the lasagna around any longer and then offered me more for free. I gladly took it off their hands.

I moved down the trail a short distance to the shore of Lonesome Lake where the view of Mt Lafayette rising as a backdrop behind the lake took my breath away. The scene was one of the most amazing I had seen up to this point. The stories were correct - "The Whites" did kick ass!

I left the serenity of the lake view and headed back toward the daily regime of hiking as I began to descend toward Franconia Notch. While crossing one of the brooks whose bridge had been removed, I became momentarily lost and followed a blue-blazed section of trail for a couple of yards. I backtracked and rejoined the correct route on it's way down to the road crossing at US 3.

Once across the highway the trail began a gradual uphill climb for say - "a very little distance" before heading practically straight up for two and a half miles. In that span, the elevation changed two and a half thousand feet. Now that is a climb! The trail did not wind here and there either that I recall, just a straight line up the side of the mountain to a campsite called Liberty Springs. To be able to camp here, in an area that was in no way level, the AMC has built tenting platforms to allow a level surface. The platforms also minimize the impact of camping. There is a fee for utilizing these spots that is paid to the caretaker who lives in a tent also. The fee was two dollars. The spring at Liberty Springs provided great water and helped ease the pain of the long ascent. I rested by the spring before choosing a tentsite.

(click image to see larger)

A couple of other northbounders, Mike Patch and a friend of his, showed up a little later. We all chose platforms and set up our tarps in anticipation of rain, then went to a spot on the right side of the trail to watch the sunset from a large boulder. As the evening fell, the temperature at our altitude of almost 4000 feet began to get quite chilly. Irv,
"The Trailwalker", came by, ripped several bellowing farts without even being the least bit embarrassed, fixed his grub, and then being as cheap as he looked and smelled, went up the trail to find a spot outside the quarter mile boundary from the trail to spend the night free. He had been unable to convince the caretaker to allow him to stay free at the campsite. What a character.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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