|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||North Twin Mountain, South Twin Mountain, Galehead Mountain, Mt. Garfield, NH|
||Little River Road, unnamed trail, Haystack Road, North Twin Trail, herd path, North Twin Spur, Twinway, Frost Trail, bushwhack, Garfield Ridge Trail, Garfield Trail, Gale River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, March 14, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Left vehicles at Gale River west, Beaver Brook, and 7 Dwarfs ($10 cash). |
||Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts, Snow/Ice - Postholes |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The little crossings down low were open, but the river crossing on the North Twin Trail (#3) was still snow bridged (though there were some barebooter postholes through part of it). Garfield Trail crossings also still had snow bridges. PLEASE wear snowshoes so that we can keep these snowbridges for a few more weeks. Barebooting and postholing them causes the snowbridges to collapse faster, which puts trails out of reach in the spring. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||A few blowdowns on most trails listed; can't remember specifics. |
|Lost and Found:
||Snowshoes went on as soon as we crossed the private bridge (proceed up the driveway a few hundred feet and there will be a path marked with a trail sign) and stayed on for the duration. Another inch of powder fell overnight, and it snowed on and off all day. The herd path up to Haystack Road was in better shape than last week, but still some postholes remain. Did not note any recent snowmobile activity on Haystack Road.|
North Twin Trail was so so, with some postholes. Much better after the big crossing (considering the postholes stopped partway across, perhaps the barebooter turned around a few days ago). North Twin Trail steeps were okay. Both scrambles are completely filled in; not even noticeable. Stretch from view to summit spur still has a tree corridor, so straightforward. Some new drifting.
Active drifting between the peaks. Snow up to the tree tops in one area prior to South Twin; probably 5 feet of snowpack. Winds were surprisingly not bad on South Twin, but harsh descending the upper Twinway. Twinway generally had a couple of inches of powder on top of hardpack. Frost Trail was similar. Congraulations to Bria on finishing the Winter 48 on Galehead.
I headed off Galehead and attempted a new variation of the bushwhack (I didn't like the northern descent I took last spring, so I attempted to favor west). Not worth it; I don't recommend following my tracks if they are still visible after the wind and snow this afternoon. Fall line was not conducive and still hit a few patches of thick and was cliffed out a couple of times. Technically saved some distance, but did not save time or energy. Ideal snow pack conditions for bushwhacking though; fully supportive of snowshoes.
No one had been across Garfield Ridge Trail today. Footbed wasn't particularly great, as it was uneven from the thaw/freeze. Active drifting a foot deep in places, otherwise about 2-3" of new snow. The steeps prior to the campsite were fine with Tubbs Flex snowshoes, but it looks like there could be some blue ice hidden under the powder as well.
Disaster above the campsite; the recent guests barebooted and postholed the heck out of the campsite spur and left a lot of nasty postholes from there to the Garfield Trail junction. The 3 foot deep postholes were at least visible, whereas the 1 foot postholes were hidden by the powder. Painful with lots of turned ankles.
Short stretch up to the summit was actively drifting (my tracks were getting covered over during my time up top). Actual summit ledges are bare. Noted that it appears someone has been chipping away at the foundation cement, particularly on one corner.
Descending Garfield Trail, the top few tenths of a mile was heavily drifted, generally about a foot of fresh powder on the trail. Wish it were like that thereafter, but...
Starting around the PUD and into the hardwoods, the Garfield Trail was a disaster. Minefield of postholes from inconsiderate Microspikers. If you don't "need" Garfield in the next few days, it's probably not worth it. Where I could with ease, I snowshoed off trail to avoid this dangerous mess. We'll either need measurable snowfall (only a couple of inches of powder even with today's snowfall as of mid-afternoon) or else some warm sun+snowshoe traffic to repair this mess. It's really, really bad in places.
Below the water crossings, it was more along the lines of frozen Microspike divets. Unpleasant to walk on, but not dangerous like the previous stretch. The softwood ridge to the summer trailhead was close to snow free (as it typically is) with just an inch of powder and a slight bit of ice/hardpack underneath.
Gale River Road was not particularly smooth/well packed out, but soft enough with the couple of inches of fresh powder.
Weather was not great today with snow most of the day and some cold winds on Garfield and in the woods in many places. Drifting is returning stuff to winter conditions. A couple of brief glimpses of the sun. Did not encounter another hiker all day, which was particularly surprising considering it was the last weekend day of calendar winter.
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.