|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Galehead Mountain, South Twin Mountain, North Twin Mountain, NH|
||Gale River Road, Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail, Twinway, North Twin Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, April 4, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked at winter lot for Garfield Trail off US 3. This lot is dirt surfaced with firm soil. Snow dusting in AM, none when I returned in the evening. Please, if you use TP to wipe the bunghole, throw it in the car and not the parking lot. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow - Spring Snow, Slush, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||On Gale River trail: the tributary to the North Branch Gale River was passable with exposed rocks. No other water crossings posed issues today. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Good trails for dogs today. |
|Lost and Found:
Gale River Rd > Gale River trl > Garfield Ridge trl > Frost Trail > Twinway > North Twin Spur > back the way I came.
My initial plan of backpacking around Franconia Ridge got blown away by the winds. So I hurriedly created another route that would allow me to test out my new gear and set up. It kinda happened, and it kinda didn’t. I’d planned on camping at Garfield but the cold temps and wind proved I was not ready for camping above 2000 feet right now. Soooooo… Still got to break in the new pack!
Gale River Rd: shallow snow in the morning that was completely melted by evening. Simple walk.
Gale River Trail: not blazed except for the lengthy reroute that is well blazed in blue. Met two nice fellas doing a traverse over Galehead and the Twins. So nice to meet you!
This is really the tale of two trails. The morning trail was much more winter-like with its new 0.25 inches of snow. There was no ice in the morning. I was able to bareboot all the way to the junction with Garfield Ridge. In lower elevations there is the whole mix of spring snow conditions. In upper elevations the trench remains intact and firm. I could have used spikes or snowshoes for the steep parts but I was curious to see what would happen if I used nothing. I am alive to write this so I made it just fine.
The evening trail was a different story. In upper elevations the soft powdery snow morphed into sticky spring snow that clung to my spikes. It would often pry them right off. Punk! Once down at 3000 feet the snow was receding rapidly. Spikes came off as much open trail was present. There were also short sections of ice near the river. Down at about 2500 feet there was no snow to be had. There was plenty of standing water, running water and mud though! Bare boots work best.
Garfield Ridge Trail: this is part of the AT and is blazed in standard white blazes. The trench was completely intact. Some minor postholing, but dude, I no longer care. It’s April. Snow be gone! :) I remained in bare boots as temps were WELL below freezing.
Frost Trail: not blazed, very simple to follow. Trench intact. New snow from last night melting quickly turning into mashed potatoes. That durn ice section is still where it always is. I contemplated changing to spikes or snowshoes before embarking up this trail, but I remained curious to see if I could make it up and down in just boots. And I did. I may have had to make a reroute around the ice, but snow levels in the surrounding woods were surprisingly low. Thanks for catching my phone, my fellow gridding buddy! Durn thing fell outta my shirt as I had dropped pack to bag the summit in under 10 minutes.
Twinway: this is the AT and is blazed in standard white blazes. That 0.8 miles from the Hut (closed, no shelter) looks simple on a map. But man, it’s 1000 feet of elevation gain in just under a mile. I elected to don spikes due to prior ice experience on this trail (I will not go careening unfettered down this slope ever again!!). Alas, snowshoes would have been the better footwear. My only other fellow crazies, I mean hikers, wore snowshoes. There was only one small icy section hidden under the new snow. The rest was packed trench, perfect sidewalk for snowshoes. By my return it was soft mashed potato snow that was balling up on my spikes. I’m telling you, that one slide I had years ago has imprinted so deeply upon my grey matter that I won’t wear anything but spikes on this section, even when conditions warrant snowshoes.
South Twin’s summit cone is predominantly bare rock. Signs up, legible. Endless views today.
North Twin Spur: nicely blazed in blue. Simple to follow. Trench intact despite the warm spring sun making every attempt to melt it. I really should have changed to snowshoes. Another person had summited South Twin and returned on this trail in just bare boots (no postholes). So I summoned my inner spring spirit and declared, “I’m doing it. Balled up spikes be damned, I’m boycotting snowshoes today to support sprouts!!!” Needless to say, my snowshoes laughed every 5 steps I stopped to knock the snow clumps off my spikes. My smarter gridding pals wore snowshoes. Man did they lay a nice track!
Whatever you wear on your feet: enjoy this time of year. It’s only weeks before the bugs invade…
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.