January 22, 2012. Back to what I didn't get to do last week, Galehead. Supposed to be a clear and sunny day but cold. Damn cold! When I left the house at 5:00 am it was 0° and as I got further north the temperature dropped. By the time I got to Beaver Brook Recreation Area (on Route 3 just west of Twin Mountain) the temp was a balmy -18°. That's a minus sign in front of the 18! The only good thing is that there is no wind. The trailhead for Gale River Trail is about 1.3 miles away. There are trails for cross country skiing that lead out to Gale River Road and then to Gale River Loop Road where the trailhead is located.
I reach Beaver Brook at 7:05 and taking a little extra time to layer up (long johns, hiking pants, thermal long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and a fleece jacket) I am off on the trails by 7:25. Once I get going the temp is actually not that bad. I learned from my mistake on Carter Dome and for the third time I am wearing my winter hiking boots. The cold is actually refreshing and crisp. Thank the weather gods that there is absolutely no wind or I would have a different viewpoint of today. A quick half hour later and I am at the trailhead and the long 4.2 mile hike to Garfield Ridge Trail begins. Nothing special except for a section of trail that has been completely relocated due to flooding a few years ago.
Two and a half hours from starting I make it to The Garfield Ridge Trail and another section of the AT. A half hour later and I am at Galehead Hut and the views are great looking south. I drop my pack on the front porch for the short hike up to Galehead from the hut. But first a few pictures, the two peaks I did last week, North and South Twin.
A shot of Galehead Hut.
Then up to Galehead which has no views at all. The snow isn't even deep enough to get a view above the treetops. But about two thirds of the way up there is a ledge with great views into the Twin Brook Valley. I can see the Osceolas all the way across to Loon Mt. And faintly in the background there is Tenney Mt ski area located in Plymouth.
I reach the peak at 11:00 and then head back down to the hut to retrieve my backpack. I stop for about ten to fifteen minutes to have some snacks and try to get a decent picture of Garfield while standing on a rock. Fingers start to get cold from being idle so time to get going. I make it almost all the way back to the junction on Garfield Ridge Trail and Gale River Trail and I hear some voices coming towards me. Two guys are hiking and they came from Garfield. If I hadn't stopped to take a food break I would have made it to Gale River Trail never seeing them. There goes my zero people day! One of these days I'm going to get one. A whole hike without seeing another person. Oh well, back down Gale River Trail and back to the car at 1:40 pm. The temp warmed up quite a bit by the time I get to the car, it is now 18°. What a 36° rise in temperature is not quite a bit? Other than the cold fingers back at the hut I really had no issues with the temp's. Back in the car and southward I go for my chinese meal.
Final numbers: 12.4 miles, 6 hours and 15 minutes, 1 peak, # of peaks to date - 27.