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Thread: Garfield Ridge Overnight - February 20-21, 2021

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Garfield Ridge Overnight - February 20-21, 2021

    My friend Rob and I ventured into the White Mountains last weekend for a real backcountry hammock camping adventure. This was a very challenging trip - neither of us were ready for the weight of our massive packs and they wore us down. We hiked up Mt. Garfield and set up our hammocks at the Garfield Shelter (we didn't stay in the shelter but rather used it as our base of operations). Thankfully the Garfield trail was well packed down and Garfield Ridge wasn't too bad. Only the spur trail to the campsite needed to be broken out - that was hard work but at least it was short and concluded our day.

    It was forecast to get down to about 3F and that was right on the money. It was cold! Thankfully both my clothing and hammock gear kept me fairly warm. Setting up and taking down the hammock proved as difficult as I expected in the cold weather. But in my haste to try to set things up I stumbled over my hammock and punctured a few small holes with my snowshoe. I was so mad at myself and worried about how I would fare - luckily the hammock held up fine. And since I wanted to get a new hammock anyway this was sort of a blessing, haha.

    In retrospect I didn't pick a great spot for the hammock as there was a lot of wind blowing through. I'm glad I had the winter sock for this one as it snowed most of the night. I didn't consider the condensation issue and was battling ice crystals on the inside of the sock all night. So while I never got very cold in the hammock I definitely didn't get much sleep.

    We were surprised when two gentlemen arrived an hour before dark - we'd figure we would be the only ones there! They were brother-in-laws and opted to put their tent in the top shelf of the shelter. Smart fellas. They had come from Gale River Trail so we knew that the trail would be at least somewhat packed down, though we had to deal with a few inches of new snow that fell overnight.

    Originally our plan was to continue hiking along the Pemi ridge and camp at the Guyot Campside for night 2. But we had pretty much dismissed that before we even reached the Garfield Shelter. One reason was the weight of the packs. They really took a toll on us. And after our first night of camping we awoke with frozen gear and packed in a haphazard fashion in order to get a move on. Neither of us had much of a desire to setup/breakdown our gear again. We were both happy to change our plans, continue our hike to Galehead and then descend back to the car.

    Day 2 was beautiful and warmed as the day progressed. Dropped the gear at the Gale River Trail to make it the ascent of Galehead easy on ourselves. The hike out along the Gale River Trail was lovely - despite being sick of the pack weight this was an enjoyable forest walk (my first time on this trail). Less enjoyable were the miles of snowmobile roads that finished our day. At that point we were exhausted and ready to be done.

    Overall this was a tough but great trip. Lots of lessons learned! I'm happy with how the following video came out and hope you enjoy it.


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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Great video Rhody! Thanks for posting. Yeah, huge packs...why I don't backpack in winter (well one of many reasons). The section at about 4:25 of you guys swimming in snow was pretty impressive. It Looks like the weather was getting better as you were heading out.

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    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    Great video Rhody! Thanks for posting.
    Yeah, huge packs...why I don't backpack in winter (well one of many reasons).

    Likewise, I really enjoyed it.

    The section at about 4:25 of you guys swimming in snow was pretty impressive.
    And worth a good chuckle. "It's not too bad," then foof....

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Yeah that one really deep section was the spur trail off Garfield Ridge Trail to the campsite. No one had been up there in awhile and it was slow going. That was really the only section where we were breaking trail in a meaningful way. But yeah those packs...oof!

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    Great trip report.....video doc appreciated......you didn't happen to run into Sintax 77? ....

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragway View Post
    Great trip report.....video doc appreciated......you didn't happen to run into Sintax 77? ....
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing while watching the video. That Sintax77 modified Pemi-Loop video is quite awesome.

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragway View Post
    Great trip report.....video doc appreciated......you didn't happen to run into Sintax 77? ....
    Haha, nope. But that guy makes some good trip videos. Thanks for watching!

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