|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Garlield, Galehead Mountain, NH|
||Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, August 6, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Got to Garfield Trailhead lot around 5:30am and three cars in the lot, one being slept in. Upon return late afternoon, it was full. Galehead was pretty full when I passed it. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All easy. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||I pruned a significant amount of overhangs on the Garfield Trail, but it does need a hard pruning 1-2' back in many spots. The waterbars are mostly nonfunctional as they need to be dug out. The AT is, for the most part, in pristine condition, obviously a lot of focus on this section due to the traffic. Frost trail going up to Garfield was very overgrown in spots so I trimmed the worst of it. Gale River Trail had appeared to be trimmed back in many spots (fresh cuttings at ground level), but still many overhangs which I pruned. A good portion has been recently rerouted so has very few rocks. All in all, Gale River has had significant priority over Garfield as is seen by some of the best waterbars I have ever seen. |
||None, surprisingly and thankfully. |
||None biting but some swarming in spots and sucked one down my windpipe and a couple in the eyeballs. |
|Lost and Found:
||#39 and 40. About low 50's when I started at 5:45am and didn't see a soul until getting close to AT. Amazing to think the Garfield Trail was an old road, trying to envision the Jeep ride all the way up to the AT. Garfield lived up to its reputation, one of the best views I have experienced in all my hikes of the 48's so far. Shocked to have the top to myself for a full 20 minutes. |
The AT over to Galehead Hut is rolling, but mostly down. The only steep section is a stretch past the Garfield Ridge campsite where the trail is on a running spring. Luckily most of the rocks are dry, but it doesn't last long. I actually loved this 3 mile run over to the hut, very nice trail, it was all but free of people and simply beautiful foliage.
The hut had about 10 people mingling mostly outside. I had a 25 minute rest where I had an early lunch, refilled my water, and changed my socks and shirt before heading up to Galehead. The book says 25 minutes, but I got up in 15 and down in 10. The top is marked by a tiny, lonely little cairn bearing a USA flag.
Back down the AT and Gale River Trail which heads down somewhat sharply for a mile or so and then levels out significantly for the final stretch to the parking lot. I had to continue down the road for 1.6m back to my car at the Garfield lot.
Note: I am a 58yo male, good shape and made the 15.5 loop in 9:10, this included about 30-40 minutes of pruning, a 20 minute rest at Garfield and 25 minutes at the Hut. I rarely stop on the ascents and descents and was averaging 25 minute pace on the Galehead descent and 20 minute pace on the dirt road back to the car. Keep in mind the dirt road back is for the most part all up hill and sharply for the first 1/4 mile as you leave the Galehead lot. It does taper of, but still is climbing until one last short modest downhill before the Garfield lot. I came close to staging my car at Galehead and doing the road first for the psychological effect of being at my car as I exited the woods, but wanted to get into the woods and on the trail ASAP when leaving my car. I would not want to do this loop clockwise, although the Galehead trail has a more gentle approach, the AT has a significant rise up to Garfield. I like to get the hardest out of the way first. To each their own. The trails were very dry with easily avoidable mud, by far the driest and cleanest my boots and gaiters have been all summer.
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.