We lucked out on this one in that a pair of crazy hikers broke out the whole route on Saturday, and another person took the same route on Sunday, so we weren't going to need to break trail. After meeting at Beaver Brook and leaving a couple cars there, we headed to the end of Little River Road. From here we took the usual winter route to the North Twin Trailhead, by taking the herd path on the left right after the snowmobile bridge and followed the old railroad grade (very obvious and easy to follow) right to the parking lot at the trailhead. Whitney and I were pleased to see that the overgrown section of this path had been cleaned up and we didn't have to wade through prickers this time, unlike in December when we hiked Mount Hale.
We made good time all the way to the upper crossing of the Little River, utilizing the typical bypass of the first 2 crossings. The river was completely and totally snowbridged along essentially its whole length, and so there was a great snowbridge path at the crossing, meaning we didn't need to shimmy across the giant log this time. Soon after this crossing the climbing begins in earnest.
|The Little River, under a blanket of snow|
|Yes, there is a river under there!|
|Upper crossing of the Little River. Note the snow-covered log that is often a route across.|
|Walking across the snowbridge over the Little River|
|Looking downstream from the middle of the Little River|
|Upstream from the crossing of Little River|
Just before the summit the trail pops out onto a terrific viewpoint (we layered up just below this point anticipating the high winds that had been forecast). Last winter when Ian and I did this hike, it was overcast though the views were still decent, but this day was incredible. Views stretched for 100 miles with barely a cloud visible, and despite the wind, we all had to stop and enjoy and take a lot of pictures.
|South Twin from just below North Twin|
|Pano from the lookout just below North Twin|
|South Twin, with Carrigain on the far left|
|The Presidential Range gleaming behind Mount Hale|
|Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, shining on President's Day|
|Pano from the North Twin overlook|
|Franconia Ridge with Garfield on the right|
|Galehead Hut below Galehead Mountain with the pointed peaks of Flume (L) and Liberty (R) behind.|
|Pano over the Pemi from South Twin|
|Heading off South Twin with Franconia Ridge and Garfield looming large.|
|Bond and West Bond, with Passaconaway far off on the left and the North Slide of the Tripyramids in the center distance.|
|The Willey Range (Tom, Field, Willey) with the Baldfaces in the center background.|
|Lincoln and Lafayette|
|Last look at Franconia Ridge|
|Galehead Mountain from just below Galehead Hut on the Frost Trail|
|The Twins (South in center, North on left) from the overlook just below Galehead's summit.|
|Galehead Hut tucked below North and South (R) Twin|
|Galehead Hut from Galehead Mountain|
|South Twin Mountain|
|Ed, Whitney, and Tim on Galehead|
|Galehead Mountain from Galehead Hut|
Congratulations to Whitney and Denise on 3 more checkmarks off their winter lists, and to Tim, Ed, and Ian for grid checkmarks. For me, this capped off 8 peaks this weekend, bringing my February grid total to 24, making it my second month (July) to reach that mark.. With the fast hike, I was home a lot earlier than I expected, which was awesome as well. This was an awesome hike with great company, thanks for the invite Whitney!
Route: Old North Twin Trail, North Twin Trail, North Twin Spur, Twinway, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail, Gale River Road, Beaver Brook Ski Trail
Peaks: North Twin (4761', NH4K), South Twin (4902', NH4K), Galehead (4024', NH4K)
Mileage: 14.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 3950'
Book Time: 9hr 10min (actual 7hr 25min)
|Looking up-river along the Gale River Trail|