Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Galehead Mountain, South Twin Mountain, North Twin Mountain, NH
Trails: Beaver Brook XC Ski Trails, Gale River Road, Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail, Twinway, North Twin Spur, bushwhacks, North Twin Trail, herd paths
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 18, 2017
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Spotted at the end of Little River Road (room for a few vehicles without blocking driveways; main 7 Dwarfs lot is not plowed), then parked at Beaver Brook (plowed). The Garfield winter parking at the end of Gale River Road did not appear to be plowed. 5 Corners did appear to have some room. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts, Snow - Wet/Sticky 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Currently snow bridged, but some of the smaller crossings are giving in. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Beaver Brook snowshoe route was well packed out for snowshoe traffic. Gale River Road from there to the summer trailhead was groomed.
Gale River Trail was well packed for snowshoe use up to just above the viewpoint. Trailbreaking started soon thereafter and was slow going, as snow was cresting above the knees (and much higher in a lot of places).

Garfield Ridge Trail was also slow going due to the deep unbroken snow (and obviously no sign of activity coming from the Garfield side).
We were able to break out the Frost Trail in a very kosher fashion, avoiding the spruce traps Summit area is very drifted in and there's a bit more of a cornice on the Pemi side than I remember in recent winters.

Breaking out the Twinway to South Twin was very slow going, as the corridor was clogged with leaners/blowdowns and the snow was very deep. Some blazes still visible just above the snowpack, but others higher up appear to be buried. The drifts up high were actually welcome, as the wind packing reducing the amount by which we were sinking in.

We were able to generally break out a kosher route of the North Twin Spur just prior to the highpoint. Slow going in places due to the clogged corridor (many higher elevation blazes either at snow line or buried) and then with sticky snow (which on the bright side should not drift much tonight, nor should the tracked stuff be as sticky tomorrow after it converts to granular tonight).

The area in the vicinity of the spur over the high point and to the western view was extremely tough navigating and very, very deep. Didn't even see the white AMC sign at first because it blended in with the snow that is now up to its base. Missed the start of that spur due to some leaners and drifts, but eventually found it by bushwhacking (and finding some bottomless spruce traps). We were all over the place initially looking for a reasonable corridor, so be prepared to be confused. Pretty neat to easily see Washington from the *western* viewpoint, thanks to the snowpack.

From the junction of the North Twin Spur and North Twin Trail, we broke a kosher track down toward the northeastern view, where we encountered our first tracks in miles. It looks like some folks made it up to this viewpoint then got lost in the drifts just above it and turned around. Below this point, in the area of the tricky scramble, there are probably 5 diverging sets of tracks, none of which are in the corridor in one of the spots. Instead of tinkering around, we opted to bushwhack down the fall line for a bit, then cut back to the trail a few hundred vertical feet lower. Generally good going, other than some spruce traps were we cut back over. From there down to the top Little River crossing, the track was sticky and not too consolidated.

The herd path (that avoids crossings 2 and 1) is in the river bed for a quite a bit before it goes up to the Fire Wardens Trail junction, which could pose an issue with the warmer temperatures tomorrow. Lots of ski and some snowshoe traffic coming off Fire Wardens made for a packed footbed thereafter, though still very much snowshoe necessary since it's soft and there's so much new snow. The herd path from Haystack Road to the bridge to the end of Little River Road was also well packed for snowshoe use.

Barebooting would be a ridiculous folly at this point, as there are a lot of places in which you're walking in the spruce tree tops.  
Name: rocket21, Nordic Gal 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2017-02-18 
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