Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Garfield, Galehead Mountain, NH
Trails: Gale River Road, Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, March 7, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Good sized area before gate that is plowed and had maybe an inch of well packed snow and ice. One car when I arrived at 6:30AM which was gone when I returned at 5:30PM. Two guys were just heading out for an overnight as I got back to car. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Black, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Wet/Sticky 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossings are tricky right now, not so much because of the water levels but the volume and condition of the ice. Crossings on Garfield Trail had a lot of thick ice that was brittle, eroding from underneath and open to the water in many places. It was too cloudy to see where rocks were underneath. I followed the light herd path described in a prior trip report to avoid all the crossings. It leaves left (ascending) and goes through woods to a bridge on snow mobile trail. It then cuts back across trail and follows right bank, eventually rejoining trail. (Note this footpath was light and probably now hidden with the 2 inches of fresh snow but the woods are open and it is easy enough to do). The crossing on Gale River on the relocated section was mostly bridged with some rocks showing and was pretty easy. The last crossing just before parking lot was the hardest. It had same type of ice as Garfield's crossings. About 50-75' upstream I found stable enough ice to get me to a couple of small trees that made a makeshift bridge. They aren't big and were covered in ice but I was able to use to get over. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: All trails well blazed overall with many fresh blazes on Garfield and Gale River. GRT blazes were older but were frequent enough. There were about a dozen blow downs, mostly easy duck unders. I had to kneel for one and I bypassed a very low one on GRT about midway between Garfield and Gale River trails. There is a very large pine tree laying directly across Frost Trail near the top but it is easily avoided. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Would be OK but there are steep slopes in many places on GRT. 
Bugs: Actually saw a few flying insects of some sort and several black spiders on the fresh snow. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: There is a pair of sunglasses on Garfield Trail sign. 
Comments: Pretty good conditions overall although snow and sleet all day likely changed. Garfield Trail mostly easily gripped gray ice and packed granular. Roughly where the switchbacks started it became more loose and powdery up to the summit. The last short section of the summit cone had plenty of snow cover and was easily negotiated. The GRT heading to Gale River junction was much less consolidated and loose, with maybe 6 inches of snow. There were a few sets of tracks which made following the path easy but it is not at all well packed. I stayed in spikes to negotiate the sharp drop off down and then put on snowshoes. The drop down summit and all the humps had a lot of steep, slippery slopes but all were well covered in snow so butt sliding took most of thee difficulty away. Actually a lot of snow in here. Lot of blazes knee to waist height and I was actually walking in snow covered branches in many places. From Gale River junction the trail again becomes better packed but had about 2 inches of fresh snow. Frost Trail was basically the same and also had some steep and slick snow covered areas. On way down the snow became wetter and thinner roughly at the bluff overlooking river and snowshoes became more tedious than beneficial. The last mile of Gale River was by far the worst. The snow was so wet that it balled massively on spikes after just a few steps. Tooked spikes off and quickly found out that there was a lot of ice under the wet snow and it was EXTREMELY slick. I slipped many times and finally took a very hard fall so I walked in the woods alongside the trail most of way out. (It is likely the lower parts of Garfield Trail now have similar conditions). Until the snow melts or hardens I would take care in this seemingly easy section. Road walks were fine in both directions.  
Name: DayTrip 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-03-08 
Link: https:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2024, All Rights Reserved