|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Garfield, Garfield Ridge - West Peak, Garfield Ridge - East Peak, Galehead Mountain, NH|
||Gale River Road, Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, bushwhacks, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, March 20, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked at winter lot for Garfield Trail off US 3. This lot was snow free and is passable for any vehicle. Lots of TP in the lot… This lot is dirt surfaced and well packed so soil should not suck your vehicle down. Gates on Gale River Loop rd remain locked as frost is not out of the road. |
||Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||None presented an issue today. There is no way to keep feet dry, though. Crossing rocks were submerged for the larger crossings on Garfield and Gale River trails, but the currents were completely manageable with trekking poles for balance. Smaller rivulets were swollen but hoppable or had chunks of stable snow to place a snowshoe on. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Good trails for dogs. The “waterfall” after the Garfield campsite may present some challenges. But this is a short segment. |
||A few flying insects around. |
|Lost and Found:
Gale River Loop rd > Garfield Trail > Garfield Ridge Trail (out & back to Garfield summit) > Garfield Ridge Trail > Frost Trail (out & back to Galehead summit > Garfield Ridge Trail > Gale River Trail > Gale River Loop rd > road walk on US 3 back to parking.
Gale River Loop rd: this is a dirt road that is accessible to trailheads in snow free seasons. I was able to bareboot the road as there was very little to no snow on the road. Some of the road is a snowmobile trail but I guess with the lack of snow it’s the end of snowmobile season.
Garfield Trail: well blazed in blue. Well maintained. Nicely graded trail. See water crossing notes above. I was able to bareboot up to 1200 feet in elevation where spikes proved the most advantageous for the terrain. Snowshoes will not work in this segment. Too much black ice, bare trail, protruding rocks and roots. At 2600 feet in elevation the snow pack emerged. Snowshoes went on and were most appropriate even though there are some small segments of monorail up at 3000 feet. Very few postholes. Trench was disintegrating quickly, snowshoes kept me mostly on the trench. Mostly.
Garfield Ridge Trail: this is the AT and is well blazed in white for its entirety of these segments.
- From the junction with Garfield Trail to Garfield summit: well packed, small section of blue ice just before the final push to the summit. Snowshoes worn. Summit cone bare rock. Very few postholes.
- From the junction with Garfield Trail to the junction with Gale River Trail: this is plagued with postholes. The snow is very soft, wet, and heavy. The trench is hard to stay on, even with snowshoes. If I made any step off the sides of the trench… Whomp! I went down either a few inches or up to my shin. In snowshoes. Some sections had emerging monorail (good luck staying on that!!). The super steep section that I term “The Garfield Waterfall” that is directly after the Garfield campsite is blue ice. I hate heights. I hate heights covered in ice more. So braver souls may have no issue going down this slick, steep section. Me, on the other hand, took my awesome snowshoes and made my own route around this obstacle. The Garfield campsite’s water point had running water. There looked to be some snowshoe traffic up to the campsite.
- From the junction with Gale River trail to the junction with Frost Trail: well packed, very few post holes. Nice and firm. I kept my snowshoes on. Met the only person I saw all day at the Galehead Hut (closed, no shelter). He was on his way to Galehead then the Twins, in his snowshoes. Rock it, man!
Frost Trail: not blazed. Well packed trench with one small section of blue ice where it always is in cold seasons. Completely negotiable in snowshoes.
Gale River Trail: not blazed save for the super long re-route that is well blazed in blue. Firm trench with few postholes. But don’t step off the trench… See water crossing notes above. I stayed in snowshoes to about 2300 feet in elevation. Then I put on spikes only to take them off 12 minutes later (at about 2000 feet). There was little to no snow below 2000 feet. So, if ascending this trail, I recommend you bareboot it to the major water crossing (a large tributary to the North Branch Gale River) just before the trail turns steep as it heads for the junction with Garfield Ridge Trail. Then put on your snowshoes. No sense in doing what I did with multiple footwear changes. When coming down, just take off the snowshoes at the large water crossing. You won’t need them after this point. Lots of running water on the trail in lower elevations. My boots were soaked anyway so I just walked through the water.
Lots of views of mist and the insides of grey clouds. No matter. Garfield & Galehead gridded for March.
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.