Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gale River Trail to Galehead Mountain

With hot temps forecast for today I was looking for a 4,000 footer with some shade, Galehead Mountain seemed like a great choice. I was up early and on my way to the trailhead at sunrise. I drove up out of the valley where I live into a clear blue sky.

 Up with the sun

 Clear blue sky over the Presidentials


Turning off of Route 3 onto the dirt road at Five Corners I got a little confused when there was a fork in the road. The directions are in the AMC Guide and it states bear left then a sharp right which I didn't remember but did just that and got to the trailhead parking area without any problem. There was still some available parking spots early in the morning and I was soon on my way up the trail.

North Branch of the Gale River

Fresh moose track on the trail

It's a gradual climb with some easy water crossings, at least today they were. But I could see some problems in high water after a heavy rain. The trail has actually been rerouted after a storm in 2005 washed out some bridges. There is actually a sign posted describing this and I took a picture that describes the details.

 Trail rerouted

 Ball o' moss

 Garfield Ridge Trail junction

In the first four miles before the Garfield Ridge Trail junction I met one other hiker coming down. I was also following fresh moose tracks and kept a watchful eye on my surroundings. It was nice and cool on the trail and I made the junction in just under two hours. I started meeting other hikers from here to the Galehead Hut. 

 Galehead Mountain

 Twinway and Frost Trail junction

Up at the hut the croo was doing their daily cleanup. There were several hikers outside resting before moving on to their destinations. I took some photos from the scenic outlook and continued on my way to the summit.

The Galehead Mountain summit has a small cairn, no views and lots of black flies, I didn't stay long. On my descent I stopped at a marked outlook with beautiful views but also had plenty of black flies. I stayed long enough to get a few pics and went back down to the Galehead Hut.

 Galehead Hut

At the hut I had something to eat, rested for a few minutes and continued my hike of 4.6 miles back to the trailhead parking lot. The temperature was getting warmer and I was glad to be heading back down into the cool forest below.

 Touching the Galehead summit cairn

 A long drop behind me

I stopped and talked with a couple of ladies on their way up the trail that had come from Portsmouth (my hometown) this morning. One was going to "touch" South Twin for #48 to complete her 4,000 footers. I've been on several hikes where I met people doing their #48, it always gives me encouragement to complete my 48. I congratulated her and we continued on our separate ways.

 Looking down on Galehead Hut 

 Galehead Hut zoomed

 Common Wood Sorrel

Back at the trailhead parking lot I was approached by a hiker needing a ride along with her hiking companions to the Liberty Spring trailhead parking lot. There was a group of four and they looked hot and tired and I was glad to help out. We all squeezed into my Highlander and were on our way. I wasn't exactly sure where this trailhead parking area was so it was nice to be able to drive them there for future reference when I hike Mount Liberty and Mount Flume.

A last view from Galehead Mountain

Galehead Mountain (4,024') was #31 on my completed list of 4,000 footers. I'm not a fan of hot weather and thought the heat might slow me down but I completed the round-trip hike in 5 hours and 45 minutes. It was the perfect hike for a hot day!

A view from Galehead Hut

A view from Galhead Mountain outlook

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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