Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Bonds, The Twins, Garfield and Galehead

Last weekend we enjoyed a three day backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We were lucky to have very good weather for almost all of the trip, and we returned with sore feet and big smiles on our faces.  In total we hiked to the summit of seven different peaks over 4000', some of them several times (South Twin x3, Bond x2)

Day 1
We started by hiking the scenic Gale River Trail to the AMC's Galehead hut and the peak of Galehead (4024').  From there we climbed steeply to the summit of South Twin (4902') and along the ridge to the isolated backcountry Guyot Campsite.  We managed to quickly secure a spot for our tent, and then headed out to hike to the summits of Bond (4698'), Bondcliff (4265') and West Bond (4540').  We returned to camp at about 7pm after hiking about 14-miles and saw lots of people who had arrived later than us only to find the campsite full.  We enjoyed home-made dehydrated veggie stew and couscous for dinner as a reward for our efforts.

Day 2
After a simple breakfast of granola and tea we retraced our steps to the summit of South Twin and then made a short (2.4 mile) diversion to North Twin mountain (4761').  This was a fine mountain despite its tree covered summit, and there was a spectacular viewpoint just a few hundred feet from the peak.  We then descended back to the Galehead hut (via South Twin) for some lunch and fresh coffee, and to check the weather for the final day.  An up-and-down ridge led us over to the final ascent of the day to the Garfield campsite.  Again we arrived in plenty of time to secure a campsite.  This was partly because it was Sunday evening and partly because a night of rain and high winds was forecast!  It was this point where we discovered that out fuel pump had been damaged earlier in the day (when Bruno dropped it) and our stove would not function.  Fortunately we were lucky enough to meet a generous fellow hiker who let us use his stove to make tea and dinner.   After dinner we strolled to the top of Mount Garfield (4500') and filtered water for Day-3 before the rain set in.

Day 3
After a night in our new tent dodging the wind and rain we emerged mostly dry and in good humor.  Once again our hiking friend loaned us his stove to boil water for tea, so we were smiling in no time.  We ate all the food left in our bags, took down the tent, and then headed back down the Garfield Trail to the car.  We found it a very gentle trail and we were in the parking lot by 11.45am.  Soon after the sun came out and we headed back to our chalet to enjoy a shower, some iced tea, and to pack our bags for the work week.

 A rocky landscape
On the summit of South Twin

A view of the ridge to the Bonds

On the trail

The Galehead Hut

Getting coffee at the hut

Setting up camp

A view to the north

Grouse on the trail

Happy hiker!

The Galehead hut in the col

Wonderful views in every direction

View from Bondcliff

The highest outhouse in New Hampshire?

The shelter at the Garfield campsite

Friday, August 12, 2016

Overnight Stay on Mount Washington

To finish up our week in New Hampshire we had planned a hike to Mount Washington via the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trial (ascent) and the Jewel Trial (descent).  This involved spending a night at the lake of the Clouds hut operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).

We left at about 10am and hiked up the steadily steepening trail next to a series of waterfalls.  We made good time and arrived at the hut at lunchtime and enjoyed a light meal with a fine view.  After lunch we hiked up to the summit of Mt Washington which was clear and quite calm.  We also took a short diversion to the summit of Mount Munroe to bag another peak.   In the evening we enjoyed a home-cooked meal in the hut and a wonderful sunset over the nearby peaks.

The next day we traversed around the summit, crossed the cog-railway line, and enjoyed fine views from the summit of Mt Clay.  Our long descent down the Jewel trail then started, and after several hours of hiking we were back at the car at around 4pm.

On the way up..still looking fresh

Steep trails!

 Sheri in her element

At the top!

Fine views in all directions

Dinner in the hut

Watching the sunset

 On the way down

Canopy Tour

We spent the first week of August in the White Mountains and we finally managed to complete one of the activities that we have been looking at for a while.  That was the canopy tour at Bretton Woods ski area near the Mount Washington hotel.

The canopy tour involves a series of zip-lines, rope bridges, and rappels between wooden platforms positioned in some very large trees.  After taking a chair lift to the top of the mountain the tour started off gently with some basic instruction.  It ended up with a 750-ft zip line about 100-ft in the air.  According tour guides we should have reached about 30-mph top speed!  We had great fun and before we knew it we were back at the bottom of the mountain.

Getting geared up!

On the chair lift ride to the top

Starting off gently

Just a few steps away...

Hanging out in the trees

The view of Mt Washington from the tree tops

Big smiles!