Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks South Twin Mountain, Southwest Twin, Galehead Mountain, NH
Trails: Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Twinway, bushwhack, Frost Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking available in the lot by Gale River Trail trailhead. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: We got our feet wet on the larger Gale River Trail crossing.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Gale River Trail was a muddy, wet mess -- given the recent hard rains, that was to be expected. It will likely dry up over the next couple of days. Other than the water and mud, it was in fine shape. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: There were many gnat-type critters along bushwhack portion. Barely any bugs at all along the trails. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Lost my Franconia-Pemigewasset map somewhere in the thick of our bushwhack on the way back from Southwest Twin. Also lost two hairclips. 
Comments: For Southwest Twin --

We left the Twinway after the second bog bridge going south from South Twin (there's a herd path leading to a stealth camp site not far from the trail). This set of bog bridges is not far from where the Twinway curves southeast. Once we left the Twinway, we traveled southwest, hugging the east side of the ridge, and sometimes dipping down into the eastern steeps so we could continue to walk through open woods. If you go this route (hug the east ridge as much as possible), then you will find yourself walking through mostly-pleasant open woods with just a few patches of tree-wrangling. We got to the summit of Southwest Twin exactly two hours after leaving the Twinway. The summit register is still there (simple screw-top jar). The last date of entry was October 2013, so it looks like no one but us has been there since last fall.

On the way back, we veered too far north instead of northeast and ended up fighting through the thickest and craziest spruce thickets one can possibly imagine. There were times when our feet did not touch the ground -- we pulled ourselves horizontally through thick, intertwined branches and swam our way through never-ending fir waves. We spent time crawling, utilizing the animal paths we could sometimes find underneath the thick upper branches. I lost my map somewhere in the first half hour of our return. We had three compasses between the three of us, so we were never worried about getting lost -- we knew if we kept heading north/northeast, we would eventually get to the Twinway.

We veered far too much to the north instead of the northeast -- two and a half hours after leaving the Southwest Twin summit, we found ourselves immediately to the right of that small, unmarked peak on the map, a couple tenths of a mile west of the Twinway (after the Twinway curves to the south-south-east), south-south-east of South Twin. We figured we may as well get to the top of that, since we were right there, so we swam/climbed/fought our way to the top (unremarkable summit, just more fallen over trees and impossible thickets). We could see the summit of South Twin a few tenths of a mile away through the trees, and we could hear the people on South Twin's summit. Since I no longer had my map, I couldn't tell how close we were to the Twinway (I knew the Twinway curved, but I couldn't remember exactly where it curved in relation to this little summit). We therefore went down the north side of what the girls and I now call "Mt. Crappybump" -- that north side is less thick than the south side, FWIW -- and continued in a north-north-east direction. We ended up coming out on the Twinway right at the bottom of the rocky descent from South Twin. Took us three and a half hours from the summit of Southwest Twin to get there.

Before heading back to the car, we dropped our packs at the hut and went up to eat Gummies on Galehead (our own Desserts on the 48 quest...we had Strawberry Twizzlers on South Twin).

This was an epic day, thanks to my bungling the return navigation. The girls had fun though -- Alex enjoys the challenge of bushwhacking. Sage and I don't mind it and we appreciate the experience, but we're not as enthusiastic about it as Alex is.

Congrats to Alex (and me) -- we have three Trailwrights peaks to go. This was our last Trailwrights bushwhack.

Since Sage has accompanied us on many of the Trailwrights hikes over the last couple of years, she now has only 16 Trailwrights peaks to go. She and I will hike those, on a relaxed basis, over the next few years.

There will be a TR on my blog either late tonight or sometime tomorrow.  
Name: TrishAlexSage 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2014-07-31 
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