Livermore Trail

November 16, 2013.

An early morning start to take advantage of as much daylight as I can. Heading up to the Kancamagus Highway and looking for the trailhead in the dark is not a fun option. The GPS coordinates I got from the guide is off and after going over Kancamagus Pass I keep my eyes peeled for the trail sign. This one, Livermore Trail, has no official parking lot and I know that Lily Pond is across the highway. Slowing down for where the GPS says it should be and I see nothing in the dark morning light. No pond and certainly no trail sign. Heading down a little ways and I do the three point turn and head back up towards the pass and still see nothing. Another three pointer and back down and where the road starts to level off I make out the pond and then the sign. Back around and I park in the dirt pullout next to the pond eating my breakfast while waiting for a little more light. The plan is to finish this end of Livermore Trail from the Kanc down to Scaur Ridge Trail and then see how far I can go on Flume Brook Trail. Flume Brook Trail was wiped out by Hurricane Irene back in 2011 and is still closed with no plans of re-opening.

Livermore Trail is another one of the old logging railroad beds that is now used for hiking. On the way up there was no snow anywhere until I got off I-93 in Lincoln and started to see traces of it. It got more prevalent the further east I went on the Kanc and I started to get a little worried because I did not bring my microspikes. Hopefully traction will not be an issue today. At the trailhead there is about two inches of crusty snow on the ground. For now there shouldn't be any issues but who knows what it will be like up near Livermore Pass.

Beyond a clearing (I couldn't verify if this was once an old logging camp or a staging area of some recent logging) and the trail veers off to the left into the woods. Before turning and the old railroad bed continues straight and Livermore Pass is visible.

 

In the woods and I pass a section of trail where some of the trees have been bent over by mother nature.

Below the pass and the trail begins a somewhat steep climb up next to a ravine and now I wish I had my spikes. It is manageable but the return trip could be a little bit of an issue. Just below the top of the pass and I turn hoping for some views but it is still early with the overcast.

 

Arriving at the top and going through Livermore Pass it is very silent and surrounded by woods. A very serene place and would make a great place to camp out sometime.

 

It isn't long before I reach the Flume Brook Camp another old logging camp. There would be no poking around this site today with the snow on the ground.

A few minutes up the trail and an odd row of trees all uprooted in one clump.

Just beyond is a strangely placed sign in the middle of the woods. It is located just before the crossing of Flume Brook. I can only assume that it was placed here long ago signifying the beginning of Livermore Trail because from this point forward it is Livermore Road. Livermore Road use to connect Waterville with the now abandoned town of Livermore.

 

After crossing Flume Brook the trail now resembles the wide path of the old road I am familiar with coming up out of Waterville Valley.

Passing by the junction with the Old Skidder Trail and Livermore Trail begins the descent down to the base of Mt Tripyramid Trail. Along the way there are glimpses of the slide on North Tripyramid which still amazes me that I climbed that steep pitch as is evident in the photo.

Across the valley are Sandwich Dome and Jennings Peak.

 

Reaching the Scaur Ridge Trail junction and I decide to go the extra distance to see Avalanche Brook and the Mt Tripyramid Trail crossing that gave me so many fits back in 2011.

 

That birch tree laying across the stream is the one standing on the right in 2011. Turning around and heading back up Livermore Trail and returning to the junction with the Old Skidder Trail. This trail is new in terms of trails in the White Mountains opening about 13 years ago. It's a great little trail descending down to Flume Brook. For the most part it is easy terrain but with the snow the last section is quite steep and careful foot placement is required. Views begin to appear through the trees of Osceola and East Osceola.

Passing a wide open rock face on my left that is hidden by the frozen ground water.

 

Just below that the best shot of the Painted Cliff of East Osceola I have come across.

 

At the bottom of the valley floor Old Skidder Trail ends and intersects with Flume Brook Trail. The left portion is closed due to Irene and the right leads to the Flume (Waterville Flume not the Franconia Flume). Reaching the Flume and it is a jumbled mess of trees creating a wall blocking the view.

A pano view of the Flume atop the tree blockage.

Back to the trail junction and one of my goals for the day was to complete the Flume Brook Trail all the way to Greeley Ponds Trail. Only one issue, this trail has been closed from this point on due to Hurricane Irene in 2011. Seeing other sections that have been closed I am hoping I can make it through the worst sections and see how bad the damage is. The entrance is blocked to discourage its use by cut down trees.

Skirting around it and some of the damage and lack of maintenance is clearly evident. Fallen trees litter the trail and makes for slow going constantly stepping over and around them. Parts of the trail are washed away as the trail follows Flume Brook.

 

Eventually I make it down about 0.4 miles down of the 1.2 mile closed trail until I reach this section where the trail is completely gone.

Off in the distance I can see the banking but there is no sign of the trail. The only way to continue would be to go out onto the brook and start rock hopping to find my way down to where the trail might be. Not having any traction with me I nix that thought immediately and resign to having gone as far as I can. Another time on a better day and I'll see if I can make it in from the Greeley Pond Trail side. Officially this trail is closed and will not be reopened but instead rerouted from The Scaur, across that ridge and down to the junction with Old Skidder Trail.

It is time to head out and return the way I came. Up Old Skidder Trail to Livermore Trail and back through Livermore Pass. As I start descending down from The Pass I get some views I missed early in the morning due to the clouds, Mt Carrigain and Mt Washington.

 

Slowly I descend down from the Pass taking my time on the steep snow covered section. Thankfully it didn't prove too challenging and I get to the more level section of trail. Back down to the car and on the way back a few stops at some of the outlooks along the Kanc. My overnight trip from early this year over Mt Tremont and Owls Cliff is visible on the left side of this picture.

At the C.L. Graham Outlook a pano with the Osceolas all the way to the Kinsmans.

While I didn't complete my goal I did not feel defeated as mother nature had other ideas. I will make another attempt at Flume Brook Trail at a later date and no matter what the results I'll still come out satisfied I gave it my best shot.


Final numbers: 11 miles, 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Redline Miles: 5.2, Total to Date: 441