Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Garfield, NH
Trails: Gale River Road, Garfield Trail, bushwhacks, snowmobile trail, Garfield Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Gale River Road closed in winter. Lot at the end of the road could probably be accessed now by a 4WD vehicle, though it is a sheet of ice. I parked at 5 Corners (eastern end of Gale River Road) instead; plenty of room to park roadside. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Blue, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The two water crossings were raging this afternoon (before the rain!). First one is completely blown out, while the second one still has a snowbridge, but from hitting it with my pole, it did not sound or look safe to cross. Instead, I used the old snowmobile trail bridges, described in comments below. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Quite a few blowdowns, including 4 chainsaw size blowdowns/widowmakers perhaps a mile above the second water crossing. I cut out a particularly annoying blowdown just before the Garfield Ridge junction. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: April conditions in late February.

Despite all of the bare ground on US 3 northbound, Gale River Road still had full snow/ice cover (except for a few avoidable dirt spots on the snowmobiled portion). Snowpack on it should survive the rain tonight.

The first half mile of the Garfield Trail is about 50/50 bare ground/ice. Enough bareground that I felt bad wearing my snowshoes on it, but enough ice that it was difficult to bareboot it. Microspikes probably optimal for this stretch.

Upon rejoining the old jeep road, there is full coverage all the way to the summit. Some areas were blue ice, but generally it was spring snow. Down low it's only 8-18 inches of snowpack, but up high there's still 3 to 4 feet of snow. Snowshoes worked perfectly, providing adequate traction and not sinking.

The water crossings were way too high, so at the first one I took a left about 15 feet before the crossing and bushwhacked/followed a herd path (prominent around some bootleg campsites) to the old snowmobile trail. A few bare spots, but otherwise okay snowshoeing. Keep the brook in sight to your right (you're walking upstream) and you'll run right into the snowmobile trail within a quarter of a mile. I then took a right onto the snowmobile trail, went over the first bridge, crossed the Garfield Trail, continued on the snowmobile trail over a second bridge, then about 100 feet later took a left and bushwhacked uphill into the woods. Keep the brook to your left (you're walking upstream), favor left, and you'll walk back into the Garfield Trail. There are some open seeps further up the trail, but those are the only crossings of significance.

Someone installed some very impressive postholes on the upper Garfield Trail in recent days, sinking 3 or more feet in places. While everyone today was wearing snowshoes and thus helping fix the smaller postholes, the deep ones remain as obstacles and as a monument to one man's futile barebooted hike.

Above the Garfield Ridge junction, things get interesting. The snow drifted in deeply and a few trees came down, obscuring the trail and sending various tracks all over the place. Barebooters will be in for an unpleasant surprise in the near future.

The summit ledges are bare.

No recent tracks headed either way on Garfield Ridge.

Wedged this one into the afternoon, making it out at dark. Blue skies and warm temperatures.  
Name: rocket21 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2017-02-25 
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