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Thread: An Epic (for me) Hike of North & South Twin/ Galehead Mountain 2-23-13- 1st 1/2

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Wink An Epic (for me) Hike of North & South Twin/ Galehead Mountain 2-23-13- 1st 1/2

    Hiking Partner: Dave Bear ( I would trust my life with him every time), awesome hiking partner and brother in law! Also accompanied by Thor- Dave's loyal Norwegian Elk-hound hiking buddy
    Elevation: 4400 feet

    Summits: North Twin, South Twin and Galehead

    Goals Reached: NH Winter 48- #'s 14, 15, 16 for me. Thor needed N & S Twin, Dave already had all of these.

    Mileage: 15.5 plus miles

    Trails Used: 7 Dwarves ski trail out to North Twin Tr., over to South Twin on the North Twin Spur, down the Twinway to Galehead Hut, Frost Tr. up and back and to the Gale River Tr out to summer trail-head, Gale River Rd. to turn off for the Beaver Brook X-C trails back to Beaver Brook Trail head and the car!

    Time: Let's just say it was a long day and headlamps were required.

    Link to photos for the day:
    http://s1343.beta.photobucket.com/us...%202%2023%2013


    Well, I was looking to tag at least 2 more summits today before the storm when Dave Bear called and said he was feeling up to some hiking and wanted to know how I felt about hiking North and South Twin. I surprised myself when I said, " How about we make a loop out of it and include Galehead too?" So the plans were set and we met at the McDonald's in Lincoln at 6:45 am. I got up at 4 o"clock in the morning and was out of the house by 5:15. Dave was probably up at 3 am. While waiting for Dave at McDonald's ( I arrived early) I ran into Marty and Ridgerunner from Views who recognized me and introductions were made and discussions of hiking goals for the day were shared. Also met some folks who were going on an AMC hike to Mt. Cabot. It's fun meeting new folks!

    Dave and I spotted a car at the end of our hike at Beaver Brook and headed over to the 7 Dwarves parking area (at the end of the road). We geared up and hit the trail in micro spikes at 7:45 am with an ambitious Thor.

    Dave was not feeling great but he was being a sport and hoping things would improve. His health has been a challenge for him lately to say the least but he is not letting it stop him from what he loves to do- HIKING. We followed along on a cross country/snow shoe shared track for a bit after about a mile or so ?, crossed the Little River on a car bridge and found ourselves at the summer trail-head parking area for the North Twin Trail. Only 4.3 miles to the summit! Yeah right. I have been there before in summer on a 3 day backpacking trip and remember it being a long steep slog. Ok, well at least I don't have the big heavy pack this time. Just lots of snow and snowshoes to drag along on my feet instead. I can do this, I can! Whether I have a cold or not!

    The track up to the 3rd crossing got less consolidated as se went along, what with the drifting and light amount of foot travel but we still managed to stay in spikes until we arrived at the 3rd crossing where we switched to snow shoes to head across the river.

    They stayed on for the rest of the hike, what with the new snow in the track and larger accumulations and drifting as we gained elevation. We could see someone was ahead of us or maybe two folks. We soon ran into them and passed on by as they were getting shoes on. The forest was gorgeous with it's heavily laden branches of snow. Dave Bear had been up here to around 2700 ft. the day after the big storm the week before to break it out some and other folks had been in since to keep the track open. It was work climbing to this summit but I had no doubts that it wouldn't be. I kept bringing up other adventures I had had on these trails and Dave did the same. It helped to pass the time and distract us from the work at hand. We let the folks behind us pass around 4500 feet as we took a short break.
    Dave climbing a steep pitch near summit

    We ran into a fella about .3 miles from the summit though I can't remember his name. Dave will though. He's great with names. The guy said Stinky Feet and a couple others were whacking out to southwest Twin? I think? We continued on to the summit of North Twin and the folks we let pass were there (their goal for the day) and we took photos for each other.

    Dave, Thor and I headed up to the higher point but there wasn't much for views. It had started snowing about 1/2 way up the summit and stayed fairly socked in the rest of the day with only limited views now and again. Someday I will get up here when there are views. This was my 2nd summit here with no views and at least my 3rd time on South Twin with zip for views.

    Dave continued to lead the way down off North Twin and we soon passed the cave on the left where my brother and I had hung out for an hour or so back in 2001 to wait for rain to pass by. IT DIDN"T by the way. We stopped halfway across for a quick bite to eat and I shared a nice cup of Earl Grey tea with Dave. Boy that smelled and tasted great, especially with the banana bread I had brought. We plodded on as the snow began to increase and the winds began to blow. When we came up out of the trees we could just see the false summit of South Twin and knew we were nearing our 2nd summit for the day.

    Thor ran on ahead as we climbed the final pitch and we could see him sitting up there all proud of himself and probably saying, " Come on guys, you coming or what?" Dave climbed on top and I took his pic and then it was my turn. I didn't know if I could jump across from one rock to the other with my shoes on and was 2nd guessing myself. The wind was getting pretty annoying and really blowing the snow in our face and eyes. I made the leap and was so proud of myself that I started waving my arms around and saying Woo HOO!!!

    The summit photos were taken and we quickly followed the track ahead of us down the steep pitch of the Twinway Trail.

    I was not looking forward to this at all. I don't butt slide and I envisioned some very tired legs and alot of falling episodes. When I saw Dave sit down for the first time I knew I wouldn't see him again until the hut. After struggling for awhile and falling down a bunch in the loose deep snow I decided that although I did not have my rain pants on I was giving it a try. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with my feet with those snowshoes on but I just winged it. My pants actually allowed me to slide down under control on the steep parts and it was kinda fun! I think it totally beat falling down and getting up constantly which was very exhausting. It only worked on the real steep sections but hey, it's a start on my road to more potential butt sliding opportunities to come!
    too long a report so 2nd 1/2 posted below:
    Last edited by Sunshine Chris; 03-08-2013 at 12:38 PM. Reason: forgot elevation
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Here's the rest of the story:
    I saw 2 guys headed up South Twin as I was coming down and I sure didn't envy them with all the loose snow surface. I met Dave and Thor at the hut. Dave had said he was going to skip Galehead since neither of them needed it and he was going to save what he had left in his body for the hike out but when I arrived he had eaten and got comfortable and offered to climb with me to the summit of Galehead despite the fact I knew he was pretty beat and not feeling well. I sure did not want to pass the chance to get it while I was right here, but I will say I was tempted. I knew I had completed only 1/2 the mileage for the hike but 9/10ths of the climbing was behind me, so I made myself do it. It was steep and hard on a couple of pitches but they soon passed and in no time we were on the summit and taking photos.

    I stopped to eat something, drink, add a layer (mountain hardwear shell over my soft shell and a neck gaiter and my big winter mitts with hand warmers). Dave shared a Hershey's chocolate bar with me which I stuffed in my pocket for later and we were on our way as Dave was chilling down and it wasn't getting any earlier in the day standing there.

    In no time we were back at the hut and passed right on by heading down the Garfield Ridge Trail. The trail had 4-5 inches of new snow on it and it was snowing pretty good. We were hoping to at least get down off the steep section of the Gale River Trail before dark encroached upon us. We both did a little butt sliding along the top section and found ourselves well down below the steep section before starting to slow down. We were both getting tired and Dave was really struggling with multiple symptoms and ailments. I was just hoping he would be able to make it out under his own power. This was no fun for him at this point and fairly discouraging for a hiker that has always been so strong. Dave stopped now and again for me to catch up ( that's when I would eat some of my chocolate bar, MMM yummy) as I don't have the same stride as him and was not comfortable lengthening mine at this point in the hike if I was to continue being fairly comfortable the rest of the hike out. Thor would come back and check on me if I got out of sight.
    The Gale River Trail seemed to go on and on until we finally crossed the river on snow bridges that were soft. Thor and I broke through as we were coming up out of it. Soon after I broke out my headlamp which lasted until the next brook crossing (completely and solidly bridged) at which point it promptly died. Dave checked his gps and it said it would not be long before we would hit the summer trailhead. I couldn't wait for that to happen as my hips and knees were starting to complain a little bit and my boot was rubbing the top of my right toe and really getting annoying. We decided to do something about the headlamps when we got to the TH so I continued striding monotonously along behind Dave and Thor in the dark just waiting for that park bench Dave mentioned that would be at the trail-head and imagining to myself how good it would feel to sit down for just a moment! It seemed like alot longer than it should have been before we got there and parked our butts on that bench! We waited awhile for the bus to come, and great surprise- IT DIDN'T!

    Time to get off our butt's, dig out a headlamp so the snowmobiler's wouldn't run us over and head on down Gale River road. We considered high jacking the next snowmobiler that went by but lucky for them, no one came. Hee Hee. It didn't take too long to get to the start of the Beaver Brook X-C trails that would lead us back to my truck. This part seemed to really crawl and I thought we would never get to the car. When we got to an intersection we had to decide whether to go left or right. Dave said he had not been here before. Oh God, not a lengthy side tour! please choose the right way Dave. He checked his gps and it said another 1.6 to the car. This did not sound quite right to us. we stayed to the left and hiked for about 10 minutes or so and he checked the gps again. This time it said only 1/6th of a mile to go. Now that sounds more like it!!! Nothing looked so good as the sight of my truck in the parking lot ahead of us. We loaded up and drove over to pick up Dave's car and I followed him down to Mcdonald's in Lincoln for a quick bite before the ride home.

    When we got there I changed out my shirt, jacket and boots and took out my contacts and replaced them with my glasses for the ride home. It was snowing more heavily as we had hiked out and we decided we better get on the road and head home after a quick bite to eat. It was pretty late already. Dave headed out ahead of me so we said our good byes and thank yous and wished each other a safe ride home. God Willing.
    Man the roads got worse by the minute and we were concerned about even getting off the on ramp and onto the highway. Traffic was down to about 35 to 40 mph and the roads were slippery. It was white knuckle driving all the way down to where I got off in Tilton. I would rather have been back out in the woods in this weather than on the road, I'll tell you that. I knew I would never make it home with my truck that has no weight in the back and poor tires. Besides, all ways to my house require a steep up hill on back roads that wouldn't be plowed until the storm was over. I got a room at the Super 8 and climbed right into a hot shower. It was awesome and I was soon sound asleep. Dave stopped at the rest area in Hootsett for a short rest since he had been up since 3 am and had only gotten 3 hours sleep the night before. When he awoke later the roads that had improved south of Tilton had gotten worse and he had quite a ride home arriving around 2 or 3 am I think he said.

    I got up around 8am and watched tv and had breakfast until 11 am checkout. It was snowing like crazy and my truck had almost 6 inches of wet snow on it. The roads were worse than the night before and it was all I could do to get up over the highway overpass bridge without major fish tailing (everyone was struggling) and barely made it onto the highway heading south. It was major white knuckle driving to Exit 17 where I get off. I parked at the Cumberland Farms in town as the local roads were really bad. I knew the roads out to Webster would be impassable until some plowing got done. I called my plow guy to see if he knew if the road over to Webster had been plowed and he said it had at least 3-4 inches on it. He was headed out there soon to do some plowing so he said he would give me a call on the conditions when he got there. When he called he said he thought I could make it out to him and that he would drop his plow on the big hill so I could make it up. I barely made it to him with several near off road encounters and a great deal of fish tailing. There was no way I was going to make that hill so I parked where he had plowed and he gave me a ride home the final 3 miles.

    I have to say that this hike was well earned and my most epic to date for winter hiking. I am so glad I had Dave and Thor for hiking partners today and want to thank them for their company and support throughout. I never dreamed that my biggest challenge would not be the hike itself but the trip home, but that is the way it was.[/SIZE]
    Last edited by Sunshine Chris; 02-26-2013 at 07:50 AM. Reason: need to copy to post on another site
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

  3. #3
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Hey Chris,
    Excellent TR and nice job on a most challenging hike. I had no idea about your connection with Dave Bear, who is one of my favorite people. Great meeting you at McDonald's, too.

    Loved your shot of Dave on top of S. Twin fighting the elements. Good thing he did not take an errant step to the left.
    Hope our paths cross in the future.

    Best regards,
    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


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    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Thanks Marty. Nice meeting you as well.
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

  5. #5
    Senior Member NH Tramper's Avatar
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    Excellent. Thanks for the report. That hike was epic for us, too. Though we lucked out on the weather: it was -14F but it was sunny and calm.
    Redline Guiding | NH Tramper
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Dave Bear's Avatar
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    Nice TR and Photos Chris! Great sharing the trail with you and sorry I was such an anchor out there. Wish I could have drank a bottle of what Thor was having because he has endless energy some days. I was running on three hours sleep or less, then three hours driving, all the hours hiking then white-knuckle driving home including one of those "fishtail five times and save it to get your heart rate up" and when I got home he decided it was time to chase animals and shadows in the woods! This was the wee hours of the am and he only came in when I started to cook something to eat!

    My FB album is here:
    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/...807.1195934365

    And Marty, thanks for your very nice comment too! Sorry I missed seeing you in Lincoln!
    Last edited by Dave Bear; 02-25-2013 at 06:00 PM.
    The heart of the journey is in the path not the peak!

  7. #7
    Senior Member IQuest's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you both had an epic hike. I was the Ian that Dave was talking to on the phone about helping me with a car spot. I saw your truck near dusk at Beaver Brook on my way back from Mt Cabot. The snow was just starting to come down pretty good.
    Ian

  8. #8
    Senior Member HAMTERO's Avatar
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    It would have fun to run into you all on the trail. Thor seems awesome! That drive back was really tough. I finally had to take a nap at Hooksett.
    "I'm on a permanent vacation"

    Don Sheldon

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Hamtero- Dave had a nap there too. The drive was horrific for sure. Maybe we will see you on the trail. yes, Thor is awesome!

    IQuest- yeah, we saw my truck too but it was at 7:45pm! As Dave said, he was having a tough day so we needed to take quite a few extra breathers. It was a pace I could easily managed for so many hours though and be comfortable so I am thankful for his off day. I felt bad for him, however. He toughed it out though and made it happen anyway. He is an awesome hiking partner!

    NH Tramper- thanks for the compliment! When did you guys go out there? I would rather have the warmer temps and snowy with no views than your 16 degrees. Thanks anyway. no trade.

    Dave Bear- You were not an anchor. For one thing the anchor pulls up the rear and you led all day (Thor prefers it that way anyway). Besides- who was stopping and waiting now and again for me at the end of the day? I can't help my short legs. Like to but can't. Great day to be out with you Dave. Hope you have a good recovery this week. Thanks for the pics too.
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

  10. #10
    Senior Member hiking lady's Avatar
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    Sounds like your getting stronger and stronger Chris! That is quite a bit of mileage/elevation!! I love the smiles, despite being tired and DB not feeling well. Then to have a challenging drive home! Wow! Glad to hear everyone arrived home safely!!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Hey Chris -

    Great TP and pics - especially like the one of Dave Bear headed up the steep slope and of you three together. Lots of beautiful snow!

    So that's where you were when I was fumbling and stumbling on I's 89 and 93 Saturday. Love the photos and report. I ended up driving 350 miles with no hiking. Got lunch in Hanover, gave Rt. 4 toward Plymouth a look, turned back to 89 after a mile (got snowy fast). Seven cars slid off the road or got into wreck between Lebanon and Sunapee. It was ugly. After Sunapee, it got better. I was gonna stay in Lincoln, so turned north on 93, but the snow was heavy and it was 7 pm and I knew it was only going to get worse, so I turned back at the Boscawen exit. Called you a bunch of times to no avail. Long drive from Boscawen to Connecticut. Bummer! Was itching to do Liberty or Pierce. ... Should've stuck with the orignal plan to do Pico or Ascutney rather than calling an audible.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    Great report, Chris. Congrats on tagging the Twins and Galehead. Sorry we missed you, DaveBear, and Thor up there. If I knew we were only 20 min. behind you, I would've tried to walk faster.

    Sounds like the major part of your epic was getting home after the hike!! Yikes!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Hiking Lady- thanks- I had a great hike! The drive home was hell though.
    Driver 8- thanks for the compliments- sorry I missed speaking with you and or hiking with you,. Soon though, ok?
    Stinkyfeet- Was looking forward to finally meeting you. Another time, another summit, right? So you were behind us. ok. We wondered where you guys were.
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

  14. #14
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    Chris- that is a long hike for most people in summer. To do it in winter was magnificent. Stand tall and proud- you did great and your trip report was terrific.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sunshine Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Laura View Post
    Chris- that is a long hike for most people in summer. To do it in winter was magnificent. Stand tall and proud- you did great and your trip report was terrific.
    Thanks a-lot Lucky Laura- I am proud of myself. It felt good to get these summits accomplished in one fell swoop.
    A walk through the forest, a hike to a summit, a meander along the brooks: Communing with the natural world helps me find an inner peace that soothes my soul.
    NH 48/48
    working on 2nd and 3rd time summits of the NH 48's and the NH winter 48
    NY Adirondacks 2/46
    NH Winter 17/48

    http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/...stalCreek7760/

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