Trip Report: Breaking Trail on Garfield

Garfield Mountain (4,500 feet). Franconia, NH. 2021-02-04 (Thursday.)

Via Garfield Trail.

26 dF at the trailhead. Winds were negligible in the trees. Cloudy throughout. 

Trailhead: 1015. Turnaround: 1400. Car: 1630. Approx 30 minute road walk. 

There was a snowstorm. Expectations were low. 

So there was hiking. But no summit was attained. Never mind, there were clouds everywhere, too. One thing I’ll say is that there was no shortage of winter wonderland. 

Breaking trail was a drag. There was snow in enough quantity to keep this hike from being a walk in the park. Extended over several hours, it got painful and tiring. At one point, I began not to have fun, and… lo and behold, “turnaround time is here.” It happens. But then again, if something isn’t fun, why are we here? Summit is optional. Fun is not. 

There were a lot of snowy, droopy tree branches. Lots of white, contrasted with near-black tree trunks. Ansel Adams everywhere. The hike was anything but boring. Turnaround time came when I stumbled upon a blow-down blocking the trail. Deployed the saw, and made quick work of it. That problem fixed, I turned back for the car. There was something productive to the day. 

So… I’m going to let the photos tell the story. There aren’t as many as usual. But enjoy. 

This weekend, no doubt, hordes of hikers will tramp out the trail some more, and it’ll be delightful by Sunday. The trail follows moderate grades, the water crossings are, for the most part, benign at the moment. So maybe join in the fun. I’ll go back next week, because it’s a good trail. It was just a little exhausting to nail down the whole thing today. 

As always, stay safe out there.

Starting out at the trailhead, you head up pretty quick.
Breaking trail.
Still breaking trail.
Breaking trail, but now with puncheon!
There was a fair bit of hiking up an old logging road.
Ice cold, crystal clear. Wow!
More logging road.
Most of the trail was mellow, but here and there, it pitched up for short spells.
It’s better seen in person, but this section seemed a bit like a snowy cathedral.
There was neat frost everywhere.

Nuts and Bolts: Trailhead is on Route 3, just before the Gale River bridge. Take the Twin Mountain exit after Franconia Notch. Follow about 5-6 miles and you’re there. Park before the gate. 

Trailhead will be after a mile and a half (or so) road walk down the fire road. Blazes are blue: the trail branches off the AT, so it’s actually blazed quite well. 

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