Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Solo Hike to the Twins

A check of the weekend weather and I decided to hike on Saturday to avoid the heat that was forecast for Sunday even though there was a possibility of showers this afternoon. I'm not a fan of heat and humidity so given the choice I'll hike on the cooler day. Saturday looked like a good day to hike up North Twin (4,761') and over to South Twin (4,902'). My route would take me up the North Twin Trail over the North Twin Spur and back down the same trails for an out and back hike.

It was a nice, cool morning when I left the house. In the first few miles of the drive to the trailhead I saw the full moon setting over Mount Terrace, a nice sunrise over the Mahoosucs and a young bull moose in a mud hole beside the road. A great way to start the day!

I arrived at the trailhead parking lot at the end of Haystack Road and was the first one there but not for long. Within a minute another car pulled in beside me. I expected to be swarmed by a cloud of black flies when I stepped out of the car but was pleasantly surprised when there was not even one there to greet me. The hiker that pulled in beside me was doing a car spot and waiting to be picked up to start her hike from another trail. I would have the trail to myself for the 4.3 miles up to North Twin.

As I started my hike the only concern I had was the water crossings. The Little River was running slightly higher than normal due to some recent rain. There are three crossings and I planned on doing just the last one avoiding the first two. So as I passed by the official crossings I just kept going up beside the river using the herd path. These crossings would have been difficult without getting wet. The third and final crossing was also looking tricky. I went upriver a little ways and found a birch tree across the water with a smaller tree below it. I held onto the birch tree and stepped across on the lower tree without any problem. I picked up the main trail again and was on my way with dry feet.

The trail became very wet with flowing water on some sections. It was getting warm so I removed my lower pants legs and put on a short sleeve layer. The trail dried out as I gained elevation. I came to the first open ledges on North Twin and had some great views. The high clouds appeared to be moving out and there was a good breeze blowing. Black flies were still not a problem. A few photos and I made my way to the summit of North Twin. I took the spur path to the outlook for some first views into the Pemigewassett Wilderness.

Back at the main trail I saw a hiker and his dog coming up to the junction, it was Nate and Piper. I have met Nate on the trail before and I follow his hiking adventures. Today they were doing the loop around to Mount Hale. We talked for a few minutes then he and Piper were on their way. They were out of sight in a matter of seconds.

There were some good stretches of mud along this section of trail in between some ledge and boulder scrambling. I even saw some small patches of lingering snow. I started seeing more hikers. They had stayed at Galehead Hut last night. I made my way up to the summit of South Twin where there was a nice, brisk breeze waiting for me. I thought about putting on a long sleeve layer but there was plenty of sunshine and that felt warm. Black flies were trying to come out but the wind kept them down.

I spent some time on the summit taking photos and eating lunch. It was a great day for basking in the sunshine and I almost had the summit to myself with only the occasional hikers passing by. I would like to have stayed longer but there was 5.6 miles ahead of me on the hike back out. I picked up my pack and started the hike toward North Twin.

It was getting warm by now with a temperature hovering around 70°F. Even though I was descending I would soon have to ascend North Twin and it would be a warm climb. It was up and over north Twin without any problem and all downhill from here. The descent went well and I was passing many hikers that were on their way up. Back at the water crossing I used the same two trees and made it to the other side of the Little River with dry feet again.

Another 1.9 miles and I was back at the trailhead parking lot. This was a very enjoyable hike today. The trail was in good shape, river crossing was manageable, black flies were tolerable, temps were comfortable and there were no afternoon showers. I needed the Twins for the month of June and my 3rd round of the 48 4,000 footers. It was a great day to be hiking in the White Mountains!

Enjoy the pics!

Full moon setting over Terrace Mountain


A young bull moose beside the road

At the trailhead

The hike starts here

On my way up the North Twin Trail

Lots of painted trillium along the trail

Little River

Did not cross here

Brook crossing

Tree that marks the beginning of the Fire Warden's Trail to Mount Hale

Little River is slightly higher than normal from recent rain

Another brook crossing

Lots of water flowing in brooks that are normally dry

Another view of the Little River

And another brook crossing

River crossing up ahead

This is the usual river crossing but not today

Crossed the Little River with the help of these trees

Hobblebush still blooming

Painted trillium growing up through a spruce bough

Mount Washington

View from North Twin Trail

An obstacle in the trail

North Twin outlook

Observation tower on Cannon Mountain

Galehead Mountain and Galehead hut down below

Galehead Hut

View from the outlook

Looking over to South Twin the next destination

Zooming in on the summit of South Twin

Met Nate and Piper on the trail

On my way to South Twin

South Twin

Summit of South Twin

Smiley tree

Small patch of remaining snow beside the trail

Muddy stretch of trail

South Twin summit right up ahead

Mount Washington in the distance

Loon Mountain and Scar Ridge to the left

On the summit of South Twin

Mount Garfield

Zooming in on the summit of Mount Garfield

Mount Lincoln and Mount Lafayette

Zooming in on the summit of Mount Lafayette

Summit cairn

Starting the hike back

North Twin in the distance

North Twin up ahead

Up and around this ledge

Looking down the ledge

More rocks to climb up

Last view from the trail

Rocky and wet trail

Another painted trillium

A bog bridge over mud

A fast moving brook has spilled over onto the trail

Back at the Little River water crossing

My crossing of choice

Lots of fast moving water on the Little River

Back at the trailhead after 11.2 miles

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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