Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Out and Back to the Twins


I am close to completing the 48 4,000 footers and today's hike brought me two summits closer. The weather forecast was for cloudy skies, no precipitation and slow clearing throughout the day. The plan for this hike was up the North Twin Trail to North Twin Mountain (4,761') and over to South Twin Mountain (4,902') via the North Twin Spur. This would be an 11.2 mile out and back round-trip hike.

 Little River

 Convenient log steps



 Crossing the Little River

 Easy river crossing


Fellow hiker Denise would be joining me again for this hike and I picked her up at the usual time of 6am. The drive over to the town of Twin Mountain was dark and there would be no sun at sunrise only brightening gray skies. The trailhead is at the end of unpaved Haystack Road, 2.5 miles. There were four vehicles parked here ahead of us but it's a large lot and there was plenty of available parking. We were on the trail at 7:07am.

 Getting steeper

 Icicles

 South Twin Mountain

 South Twin Mountain summit zoomed

 Lots o' peaks


 White-peaked Mount Washington

It was a very cool morning and I had two layers, warm hat and gloves on. This combination proved to be just right for about a mile while I warmed up. There are three water crossings across the Little River on the North Twin Trail. The first two can be avoided by following a path up the east side of the river. The third crossing at 1.9 miles has to be crossed. Even after last week's rain the water level was quite low and was easily crossed even though it required stepping on a few wet rocks. In high water this river would be quite dangerous if not impassable.

 Outlook ledge on North Twin

 Winter preview on Mount Washington 

 Galehead Hut

 Franconia Ridge


 Looking into the Pemigewasset Wilderness

 North Twin outlook

After the water crossing the trail begins a moderate and steady climb progressing to a steep section before reaching an spectacular outlook. There was a great view of snow-capped Mount Washington, a preview of winter. Another 0.1 mile and we reached the summit of North Twin Mountain for #44. A short path to the right leads to another view this one on the western summit. It's here that we noticed ice on the small trees that grow at this elevation. A few photos and we were on our way to North Twin Mountain.

 North Twin summit #44



 On the way to South Twin

 Looking up at South Twin

 Looking back at North Twin

 Crooked tree

At the trail junction we continued on the North Twin Spur. It was on our way down into the col that we saw our first hiker of the day. That's over four miles on the trail before seeing anyone else today. This would change and we would see many more hikers throughout the rest of the hike. We reached the summit of South Twin Mountain and were treated to 360 degree unobstructed views.

 Last stretch to the summit of South Twin




 Frosty evergreens




This is the spot we decided to take a lunch break. There was a slight breeze blowing and required another layer so I put on a thin shell windbreaker and that did the job of retaining some heat. Several hikers passed by as we ate. A few more photos after eating and we were on our way back over to North Twin down to the trailhead, 5.6 miles.



 South Twin Mountain #45


View into Vermont and the Green Mountains


 Wet trail

 Hobblebush leaf

As we made our way down the clouds started to clear and the sun was feeling good. There were many hikers making their ascent as we made our descent. Back at the Little River we successfully crossed without any wet feet. It was a pleasant hike back down to the parking lot.

 Back down to the Little River

 Cautious crossing




 Bright forest

Back at the trailhead after 11.2 miles

With the completion of today's hike I added #44 and #45 to my completed list of 4,000 footers. I now have three more summits to go that I plan on doing in two hikes. My next summits will be Whiteface and Passaconaway followed by a final hike to the summit of Moosilauke for #48!


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Final steps to North Twin Mountain

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Panoramic view from North Twin Mountain

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Crossing the Little River


Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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