|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Garfield, Galehead Mountain, NH|
||Gale River Road, Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, December 13, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked at the winter lot for Garfield Trail off US 3. This lot is plowed after storms and can hold 8 or so well parked cars. Please try not to block the gate lest someone require rescue. Today the lot had very minimal snow that any car should be able to handle. |
||Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular |
||Light Traction, Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Thankfully the ice bridges have started. I was able to cross on firm ice over all crossings. It held my 160LBS for almost all sections. I went in a few inches when some ice gave way on the Gale River trail. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The ice may be too much right now, but the four leggers often find their own route anyway so it may not be a problem. There is still some open water in higher elevations for them to get a drink. |
|Lost and Found:
Roadwalk > Garfield Trail > Garfield Ridge Trail > Frost Trail > Gale River Trail > roadwalks.
Garfield Trail: well blazed in blue. Dusting of new snow over whole trail. Ice in segments that micro spikes could handle without issue. Some, surprising, open water on trail- even above 3000 feet. I put on spikes at the first water crossing as I needed them to negotiate the newly formed ice bridges. I didn’t take them off until Garfield Ridge.
Garfield Ridge: this is the AT and is blazed in standard white blazes. Corridor simple to discern. The 0.2 miles to Garfield’s summit is slathered in ice under a thin snow coat. Spikes would not hold this morning (I summited at 08:30). I donned crampons for supreme traction. After coming off the summit cone I deeply regretted my decision to do this trail. Oh my gad the ice. The Garfield Waterfall (the rock scramble just after the campsite), as I dub it, was nothing but pure ice. It took forever to descend using belly, butt, knees, thin pine trees and whatever else I could find to hold onto. The remainder of the trail is also very icy with little to no snow. I mean thick, blue ice that goes on seemingly forever. It took me 2 hours to do 2 miles. Scraping, kick stepping, pulling and pushing myself up and over the ice slathered ledges that are so prolific on this trail. Of note, the water point for Garfield campsite is open and flowing.
Frost Trail: not blazed, simple to follow. Shallow snow interspersed with ice flows comprise this trail. The ice here, however, had softened allowing for excellent purchase with my crampons. Spikes would be ok too. The three friendly persons met today on this trail all had spikes and were doing fine. I just don’t like hiking on ice…
Gale River: intermittent blue blazing though footbed simple to follow. Very icy under a dusting of snow for the majority of the trail. I switched from crampons to spikes only to discover my spikes had broken. If they were intact I imagine it would have been no issue to navigate the ice on this trail. Either way, some form of good traction is most definitely needed for 90% of this trail. Muddy areas frozen over. Water crossing accomplished using infant ice bridges. Carefully.
Snow levels 2-3 inches at most in all areas. Snowshoes not useful due to all the ice and lack of significant snow accumulation.
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.