Mt Garfield Monday 1/27/14. 12.9 miles.Last minute decision to hike this day based on a promising weather forcast. Relativeley warm but light snow and wind. This is one of the winter hikes that you need to hike down a closed-for-the-winter road to get to the trail head, but ony ~1.5 miles each way for this one. I brought my pulk (aka - my grandson's sled) to save 3 miles of humping the pack.
Winter parking on Gale River Loop Road off Rt 3
hike strted at 0530
Garfield Trail trailhead 1.5 miles down the closed ale River road.
I this poicture from on the way back.
These are tracks that i followed on the trail for a good 2 miles. they were fairley fresh. looked like dog but no human tracks around them. Coyote mayb?
starting to get light ~0730
Lots of wind even in the wooded sections. many trees groaning cracking and poppng. 1slowhiker had short sprints to get away from trees threatening to come down on him.
higher up (above 3000 ft) snow strted getting drifty with no signs of tracks on the trail.
snow depth 2-4 inches with some short drifts as high as knee deep. A lot of work for me breaking trail with my snow shoes.
A few small viewing areas out of the trees.
Here it looks like the weather is clearing and i'm hoping for views at the top.
Garfield trail reaches the Garfield Ridge trail, only .2 miles more to the summit.
wind was picking up more and i layered up.
There was 1 short scramble (no pictures) just before the summit. Hard ice with 6" of powder over it. I was able to herring bone up it with my snowshoes. but butt slid on the way back down.
The following picture was taking going down looking back but shows the trail going to a big displaced boulder. There was no sign of any trail one way or the other but after wandering around a bit I figured out that the trail goes to the left betwen the boulder and those two trees than hugs the left side of the boulder. This is were the short scramble starts.
Garfield summit. there is an old fire tower foundation on top to the left.
40 + knot gusts started just after I scrambled to the top of the rocks near the foundation.
zero views. normally there are fantastic view of the fraconia ridge and the pemi wilderness from here ( http://1slowhiker.blogspot.com/2012_08_23_archive.html )
Gust got so strong i could bareley stand and I had to hunker down behind the foundation before they calmed down enough for me to bug out.
soup break once back below the tree line
My tracks are almost completeley blown in after only an hour or so.
A birch blow-down. a bit hard to step over with snow shoes.
The sky is just strting to clear
This tree is really cracking and moaning. See the vertical crack.
I think this the one that really scared me when i went by it in the dark
This is why i was nervous hearing the trees cracking in the wind.
Back at the trail head, packed my gear back on my pulk that I left there and head back down the road (snow packed by snowmobiles and cross country skiers)
Finished at 1630 (11 hours) windshield says 18/48 but should be 19/48