|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Garfield, NH|
||Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, May 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parking is on Forest Road 92, immediately after a sharp turn crossing the 4th bridge from US3. Room for 12-16 cars. Two cars already there before 7AM and 2 others pulled in before I could get the gear out of the car. Was hoping Monday would be less busy day, but I guess people wanted to take advantage of the bluebird day, as did I. Only 2 spots left upon return early afternoon. This was consistent with encountering 10-12 small groups (2-4) upon my descent. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All major crossings are in first 1-1.5 mile on Garfield Tr. There are either 2 or 4 significant crossings requiring 5-6 steps to cross. All others are bridged, step overs, or one rock hop. At right around one mile the trail encounters the first stream crossing. I didn't see a blaze on the opposite side and there was a path along the stream on the current side. However, the three hikers in front of me crossed. Almost immediately we crossed back over and then spotted a blaze on the opposite side a short ways uptrail and crossed back. This was confusing but it was obvious that we were on the correct path after the final crossing. All of these crossings required stepping on at least one submerged rock (about an inch under). There were multiple paths and the ones I choose had flat rocks for the submerged step(s), so no problems slipping off. Just a short ways further up is another crossing, again with multiple paths, all with at least one submerged rock.
On the return, after crossing the first time, I was looking carefully at blazes for the next set of crossings. At the first one, I tried to see blazes marking the correct path (multiple paths on both sides of stream) and did not see any. After the first crossing, I followed a path along the stream and up the steep banking, then along the top of the bank. This path, (without blazes) took me to the trail 50 feet in front of the first crossing on the ascent, joining the trail at a skinny birch with a blue blaze.
If there is a preferred path through this maze, the markings need improvement, maybe with some arrows or some other aid or better blazing.
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Other than the markings at the first stream crossing (see that section), trail was in good shape. Several trees across trail, but all easy step overs or walk unders. Foot path was generally cleared of leaves. The several wet areas had ample rocks to use to stay out of the deeper water. Most mud today was firm enough to walk on. Some of the rock garden and stream bed sections had paths along the shoulders.
I didn't notice as many blazes on the upper part of Garfield Tr, but foot path was generally easy to follow, especially through the switchbacks. |
||Saw total of 6 dogs. Some were young and inexperienced, so hadn't learned their trail manners yet, but owners had control. Plenty of water on first half of Garfield Tr and a few runoff areas higher up. Nothing technical or difficult until the steep icy summit climb on Garfield Ridge Tr, but that section is probably easier for the dogs than the humans. |
||None on the ascent, but very cool and early start. Some swarming and landings starting about midway down. Bothersome for about a mile and a half, then picked up pace on the flatter, smoother section and left them in the dust. |
|Lost and Found:
||Found a gold-colored bracelet in one of the wet areas. Appears to be broken at one of the clasps, but haven't worked on it yet. Looks small, so may be a child's or very skinny person. If it's yours, email a description and we will figure out how to get it to you. ||
||Garfield Trail has just about every footing variety short of being technical - smooth forest floor, dry mud, wet mud, rock gardens, stream beds, rock steps, stream crossings, mostly easy to moderate grades with just a few short steep pitches. Upper half is rougher and steeper than lower half, but also has very long switchbacks. Fortunately, none of the more difficult footings last very long without being broken up with some easier footing sections, so they don't get tedious. There are a few icy patches left within half-mile of ridge, but are easily avoided and will be gone by this weekend.|
Garfield Ridge Trail is very short (.2 mile), but very steep, rough, rock climbing with snow/ice left over most of it. I took over 20 minutes on this section and very carefully managed to avoid placing feet on the ice patches except in a couple of spots where I could brace against something solid to avoid slipping, so doable without traction if careful. This involved much criss-crossing through the rocks to find the safest path. I think I added a full .1 in distance.
There is not a solid ice/snow path through the rocks, so traction would require frequent changing or using on rocks. Saw three pairs of hikers during descent, all with traction with them. Upon assessing situation, two kept them in packs and the third opted to wear them.
Summit "spur" is not marked (that I saw), so if you reach the outlook, back up a few feet and climb up the ledge to the summit.
||spartyrules1855-hiker At yahoo dot com |
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.