From Flume Slide to Full-blown Franconia Ridge Traverse

You know you’re having an incredible day on the mountains when your planned hike to Mount Flume and Liberty turns into a full-blown Franconia Ridge Traverse. But first, let’s talk about Mount Flume or more specifically – the Flume Slide.

The Flume Slide – also on the Terrifying 25 list – is a long section of steep slabby scrambly rock, which are always in some state of wet. Naturally, this trail was the next step in my personal vendetta against my fear of heights. I was intimidated by this hike – the White Mountain Guide describes this trail as, “one of the most difficult sections of trail in the Whites; there have been several serious injuries here” – which further increased my anxiety about what I was in for.

But fortune favors the bold I guess as I found that, while challenging, the Flume Slide was not nearly as terrifying as I had built it up in my mind. In fact, I kind of loved the Flume Slide – it was extremely technical, requiring all fours and careful consideration with each move – kind of like a mountainside game of Chess.

Emotions ran heavy at the top as I turned to my friends and said, “I don’t think I’m afraid of heights anymore” as I burst into tears. I blubbered incoherently for several minutes, telling my friends I loved them an awkwardly high amount of times in-between sniffles and tears. Finding people you can trust and connect with is not easy to come by in daily life, much less ones that you can hike with. And at that moment I was filled with immense gratitude for these two – so again, I love you.

Once the tears dried, our eyes turned to the Franconia Ridge. As John Muir once said, “The mountains are calling…” (and boy, was that Ridge calling to us) “…and I must go.” And so we did, as our Flume/Liberty hike turned into a 9-hour traverse across the entire Franconia Ridge trail: Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette – a truly unforgettable day and experience with two of the best.

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