|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Galehead Mountain, NH|
||Beaver Brook XC ski trail, Gale River Road, Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Thursday, February 4, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Beaver Brook lot not plowed but easy to get into & plenty of parking. |
||Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All bridged but some of the little seep gullies may collapse & you'll get wet. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||All blowdowns have easy detours. |
|Lost and Found:
||After 4 days off I figured I could do Galehead & South Twin today in 6 1/2 hours. NOT A CHANCE! I had snowshoes on from start to finish even though the X-C ski trail and road walk were pretty solid under the new snow. Don't be fooled! You NEED snowshoes once you hit the actual Gale River trail or you'll destroy the soft snow.|
I left after 9 and caught a bare booter and his friend (who wore snowshoes) about 1.5 miles up the trail. They left at 8 & it was an easy catch because the booter was sinking a foot or more with every 10th step. They were young & had hopes of doing Galehead and BOTH twins & I told them it wasn't in the cards today. I also suggested that now that I was breaking trail that the snowshoer follow the bare booter to clean up the tracks. From that point on the trail was totally unbroken but wasn't too bad until it started getting steeper about a mile below Twinway jct. The snow had been between 6-8" deep but got noticeably deeper on the really steep part below the Twinway. Also, it was sleeting so there was a slight glaze of ice and the snow now had the consistency of sand.
Once on the Twinway there were older, faint snowshoe tracks coming from the direction of South Twin (it looks like he continued on the Twinway towards Garfield). The cold, heavy sand got deeper again and the ups & downs of the Twinway were tedious. Finally I reached the hut and it looked like NOBODY had been on the Frost trail in at least 10 days. The snow was 12-15" deep and now had a 1/4" glaze of ice over it. It took good route finding because all the trees were icy so none of the blazes were visible. I managed to stay on the trail except for one section when I went 10' off course. It was HARD work punching through the ice and the snow was knee deep in many spots; most of the 3' drifts were windblown hard but there were 3 spruce traps that dragged me down up to my waist! Spruce traps are a pain to get out of, let me tell you. It took me about 30 minutes to get from the hut to the summit, for a total time of 3:50 from the car.
Going down in the gripless powder was no picnic and I took my poles out for the first time this year for stability. It was 1:30 and I took about 20 steps toward South Twin but I KNOW how steep the Twinway is & how difficult the soft descent from South Twin would be so I swallowed my pride & started down. I met the guys coming up (they reminded me of Frodo & Sam on their own epic journey) near the Twinway/Gale River jct around 1:40. Thankfully, they gave up on the Twins. They were dressed OK, in good spirits and had headlamps so I didn't try hard to turn them around. After all, they deserved to bag Galehead after that much work! I figured they reached Galehead Summit around 3 and would be off the steep sections before dark and should reach the parking lot before 8.
BTW, the trail coming down was a mine field because the barebooter FOLLOWED the snowshoer almost all the way up after I passed them earlier. Once the trail levels off about 1.8 miles below the Twinwway it's quite easy to follow the monorail, even by headlamp. If you guys read this, please e-mail me to let me know when you got back to your car! BTW, this is peak #34 in my quest for the single-season solo Winter 48 (Total time car-to-car 6:50 today and it WAS hard-earned.)
||Bob H |
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.