|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Galehead Mountain, NH|
||Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, May 17, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Gale River Road and Gale River Loop open and in good condition. Parking at Trailhead has room for many cars. Second to arrive at 6:30 with another pulling in right when I started hike. About 6 others at 2:30. Mid-May Monday with possible thunderstorms in the forecast may have kept some away. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Mud - Significant, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
||Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Many small feeder streams (Gale River) rock hoppable or stepovers. Two significant crossings requiring several steps on submerged rocks to cross, the first about quarter mile in, the second about 2 miles in. Take care in choosing the path to cross and placing feet on wet slippery rocks. None on Garfield Ridge or Frost, other than running water on trail itself. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Several step overs or climb overs on Gale River and Garfield Ridge, mostly easy. The most difficult are in the snowy areas as it is difficult to get firm footing on the slippery snow. I didn't notice any blazes for first mile or mile and a half on Gale River, then for next two miles well blazed with variety of fairly fresh blazes and some faded. Footpath is generally obvious with few tricky turns. Not many blazes on Garfield Ridge or Frost, consistent with wildnerness practices. But trail required constant looking at foot placement, so maybe I missed them. All plank bridges (several after second significant crossing) seemed in good condition. Most muddy areas had ample rocks for staying off the muddy sections. Several areas of rock or log steps to help with erosion. |
||Lots of running water crossing trail and running down trail on Gale River. Also several areas with access to Gale River itself. Water on the ridge and Frost was mostly standing water from spring rain or melting snow. Currently significant sections of snow and many muddy, rocky sections, including rock steps. Nothing terribly steep or scrambly. Saw two friendly, well-behaved dogs today. |
||Too cold at start (37 degrees) for them, but warmed up quickly as sun cleared the neighboring mountains. As it warmed up, more appeared. Worst in the wet areas toward end of descent. Some at parking area upon return. Also one humming bird stopped by to say hello at the car (afternoon). |
|Lost and Found:
||Found much more snow than expected. ||
||1. Many wet areas, muddy rock gardens, stream crossings, running water on trail, standing water on trail - more so on Gale River|
2. Significant snow on ridge and Frost. At least half of the .6mi ridge section still has significant snow cover with some mostly bare sections in between the much longer snow sections. Likewise, at least half of Frost is significantly snow coverd. All degrees of snow consistency, but mostly solid on ascent and significantly softening on much warmer descent. Post-holing unavoidable in spots, with some resulting in steps in ankle deep ice water under the snow. Light traction would be beneficial in these sections, but the problem is significant bare and rocky sections in between the snow sections. If you like rotting monorail and slushy conditions, then your call on traction or bare boots, but if this is not your cup of tea, then you need to wait another 2-3 weeks for significant melting.
3. Some blowdown stepovers in the snowy areas are challenging due to slippery footing conditions.
4. I knew this was going to be a wet trail and wore waterproof shoes. But with the submerged rocks on the crossings, other wet areas and the post-holing into ice water puddles, boots would have been a wiser choice.
5. Gale River starts out with fairly smooth gradual incline, then is more rolling with some steeper pitches after the second crossing, then moderately steep climb to ridge. (More than a third of elevation of this trail is in last third of mile before connection with ridge.)
6. This section of Garfield Ridge has both ups and downs, mostly moderately steep, with some steeper sections and several rocky sections. Difficulty significantly enhanced by current snow conditions.
7. Frost Trail has one significant dip near the beginning of the ascent, then climbs fairly steadily for last .4 to summit cairn and wooded summit, with alternating sections of snow, uncovered trail, rock steps, standing water and muddy sections. Snow covers as much as half of the climb.
8. Hut is not open to public, but crew may resupply water (unfiltered and untreated - so bring your own filter/treatment)
9. Spring flowers starting to emerge. Saw lots of painted trillium and one purple and some other blossoms of plants I do not know names.
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.