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Thread: Breaking a Mind Barrier on Garfield

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Webster, NH

    Smile Breaking a Mind Barrier on Garfield

    Here are the pics of the hike:

    I Just started back hiking 7 weeks ago after a 3 year break from it and have been struggling to get fit enough again to do a longer distance hike such as the 10 miles and 3000 foot gain required for Mt. Garfield. I decided that the weather looked favorable for this past Sunday so I encouraged Dave Bear to join me. My son Matt would be standing out this week.
    Dave met me at 6 am at my house and after a check of the weather and a minute for me to finish my oatmeal, we were on our way. I had only climbed this summit one other time coming over from Galehead in early May on a nasty monorail where I messed up my knee and lost the better part of a year from any hiking. I was anxious about the miles, the gain, the weather, water crosssings and my own conditioning. I packed all the necessary layers and safety items, trying to foresee any possible scenarios. Dave brought along his Norwegian Elkhound Thor and we set off from Gale River Loop Rd Trail head on the Garfield Trail at 8:10 am with a few vehicles already in the lot.
    We bounced along the snow covered trail and soon were down at the stream crossings which were easily managed (no wet feet). Thor rang over to check out the snowmobile bridge while I layered down. We spent so much time chatting that the trail miles just kept passing us by. The footing and grade were decent and the forest was open and lovely. Every now and again I would check my altimeter to gage our progress. The skies were cloudy and a little depressing but the wind gave us promises of a sunny warm mid day. We took our time and enjoyed ourselves and soon ran into one person coming down (early start I guess). When we arrive at a large tree across the trail that had the middle cut out I said to Dave that there ought to be snowman on there but I don't have the right gloves on for the job right now. He took the bait and we soon had one built!
    We rested soon after the switchbacks started and had a snack and a Red Bull which really helped us in the next few miles. When we started up into the firs near the old blow down area the trail began to get more slushy and wet and the trees were raining down all over us. We ran into a large newt? black with yellow spots and about 9 inches long sitting in the middle of the trail (see pic). Soon after we had a group of soaking wet ladies pass us on their way down (having said it was cloudy, windy and cold on the summit.
    The sky started showing some blue and the sun began to shine in force before we got to the intersection of the Garfield Ridge Trail. I was excited now because I knew I only had .2 miles to the summit. We soon found ourselves bathed in sunshine and a balmy 50 plus degrees on the summit cone. The camera came out and the dog began to play in the snow. He was having a grand time for himself! We had the summit to ourselves for a little while and then another hiker arrived from South Twin. We talked awhile and asked him to take our summit photos.
    While Dave Bear had a no sleeve shirt on, I was soon layering up with my Mountain Hardwear shell and warmer gloves and settling myself right down to some hot chocolate followed closely by a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and jam and for dessert a big fat brownie (which I shared with Dave and the cocoa too)! That hit the spot and I began to get around and enjoy myself on the summit cone. I was warming up, yeah! More and more folks began to arrive and for awhile there we had a good crowd of over 50's there which was soon broken up by a big group of young folks whom we met when we started back down (after I put my micro spikes on).
    At the intersection of the Garfield Trail with the Garfield Ridge Trail we ran into Trail Trotter and Big Earl and stopped and chatted for a bit and took some pics. Soon on our way I informed Dave that I would need to change out my socks soon as they were soaking wet and I was worried about getting blisters that might prevent me from getting back out on the trail next weekend. Before the switchbacks ended we stopped and I got that taken care of. Soon after the switchbacks we looked up toward the mountain to our right and noticed some large boulders/cliff walls and possible caves and I just knew with Dave we would soon be up there exploring. We found several small caves, nice ice flows over rocks and moss. It was lovely. My feet kept balling up with snow with the micro-spikes on so I had to go slow and keep banging it off. The day was drifting away on us so we decided to keep on heading down. It was an easy hike and I kept the spikes on until the snow mostly ran out and then took them off. We got across the brooks and soon were in the parking lot celebrating with an ice cold lager.
    I had great company, awesome weather, nice trail grade and easily achieved a new goal I had set for myself. I have broken that barrier in my mind of thinking I couldn't get back to larger mileage or summits. Yes!!!! I am feeling more confident now and look forward to more longer hikes. I am hoping to get alot more winter summits in this year and now I am one step closer to being ready physically to meeting the challenges.
    Thanks Dave and Thor for joining me. Oh, by the way, on the way home we came darn close to hitting a bobcat with the car. Whew! Glad Dave is fast on his feet ! He had his foot on the brake mighty quick and probably saved that bobcats butt.

  2. #2
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Manchester, NH
    Sure can relate to what you were saying about intimidation getting in the way. I hiked Garfield a year ago as one of two "prove-it-to-me" hikes. Good for you!

    Volunteer Maintainer: East Pond Trail

    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

  3. #3
    Senior Member hiking lady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Bristol, NH
    Congrats and it is great to hear your comeback was a success! I can so relate to your story! Having a friend along I'm sure made all the difference. I'm sure it felt great to have overcome your psychological barrier!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    West Hartford, CT (Photo: Sages Ravine, Salisbury, CT)
    Nice report, Chris - congrats on your big, boundary-pushing hike. Those always feel especially good. I especially like the pic of you near Garfield's summit, with the Twins and Bonds behind you. Lovely day!
    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; NEFF: 14/50; Northeast 4K: 27/115

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Webster, NH
    Thank you so much all for your encouragement. It feels good to accomplish your goals, for sure!

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