North Twin 1/24/09
Carrigain from North Twin
North Twin 4671'
11.6 MIles 3000' Elevation gain
Kevin and Emma
Having failed to get beyond Galehead two weeks before due to cold and fatigue, I was hoping to get Emma past North Twin and on to South Twin this time. Once again it was not to be. As we hiked the temps dropped from a balmy twenty degrees when we started out at 7:30am down to about ten below as we reached the summit of North Twin in the teeth of a nasty west wind. After bundling up to hit the summit I noticed as we stood there that Emma was shivering, something I had not encountered on previous winter hikes with her. Watching her shiver and chew at the ice balls clogged in her feet for a few seconds was enough to make the quick decision to turn around. South Twin would have to wait for another, less sub-arctic day.
Although the goal, obviously, is to get Emma her Winter 48, it is much less about that and much more about getting her through it safely. Had it been me alone I probably would have forged on, but the decision to turn around was easy. It wasn't about me and a peak I needed on my list, it was about getting someone who relies on me to make decisions in her best interest back safely. We have turned back before, I'm sure we'll turn back again. Like others, I love my dog and will not risk her well-being for a list.
On the way north along Rte 93 we hit snow squalls around Concord which lasted through Franconia Notch. In some spots the snow was building on the highway and driving was slowed down a bit. Through the notch I was behind a plow. I arrived a little later than planned and missed the party we were to hook up with. No sweat. We hooked up with Mike P and his buddy Mike from Gilford. We followed the tracks ahead of us, though we didn't follow the old North Twin Trail, but rather the snowmobile trails to Haystack Road. On the return I followed the trail through the woods, somewhat shorter than the road walk.
Starting late worked to our advantage as the early starters had packed a nice sidewalk for us. To my surprise I found myself out ahead of the Mikes. Sorry guys, I had to keep moving. Emma and I were gettin' cold! We met a few others along the trail as well. One being Freight Train from Weare, with a friend from CT. As we broke out of the trees at the first lookout I dropped the pack and fumbled with my gear to cover up for a run to the summit. Ran into Bob and Geri here, and pretty much decided at this point North Twin would have to do for today. I left the pack and headed the last 1/4 mile up with Emma, knowing if I had to return for the pack it was unlikely I would continue on, thus assuring I wouldn't change my mind once I got there.
On the summit I spoke to Steve, Getaway Girl and the nattily clad Mad River for a quick few minutes and the spectre of continuing on to South Twin loomed before me. Luckily I had dropped the pack for this very reason. Looking at Emma I knew it was not a good idea to continue, and we soon beat feet back down to below the tree line and out of the wind. No regrets.
On the escape from the ridge we ran into the others just popping up into the wind. We passed Mike P who had the good sense to proclaim, "No chatting!" On the descent I noticed the stiff breeze had moved most of the clouds out from the mountaintops and replaced them with super-chilled arctic air. The trip back out was uneventful, just a beautiful walk through the winter forest.
We'll come back on one of those winter days where you can hike in short-sleeves and sit around in the sun having your lunch and taking in the views.
Emma on North Twin
Last edited by KD Talbot; 01-26-2009 at 10:02 PM.
Beautiful! The ice shots on the first page are awesome. Emma has the right person with her to watch over her for sure. Not always easy to make that decision to head back. Looks like that girl could use some goggles though
Great T/R and nice pictures. I love the ones of emma.She looks like she is loving it. I agree Emma needs some doggie goggles.
Wonderful trail report, and as you've told us before when we didn't reach our goal - the mountain will still be there. Do what you can do on any given day and then come home safely. Emma's very lucky to have you making good decisions for her!
Another vote for doggie goggles!!
Trail conditions to North Twin looked fabulous. Another great report and pics;
especially "Snowface". Has Emma ever hike in a jacket to keep her warm on long, cold winter hikes?
Usually only when we stop.
Fabulous shot of your dog. Making sound decisions always feels good later, doesn't it. Thanks for sharing.
Myths can't be translated as they did in their ancient soil. We can only find our own meaning in our own time. -Margaret Atwood, writer (1939-)
I really enjoyed your photos, especially the one of Carrigain from N. Twin!
I'm sure a lot of people have pondered the question: For South Twin, is it better to do Gale River plus Twinway (5.4 miles one way) or North Twin plus N. Twin Spur (5.6 one way)--both with road walks. Sounds like you went the North Twin route maybe because you were just tired of the Galehead approach. When I did the Twins in winter (from Galehead), the stretch between the two was one of the trickiest I remember in my winter hiking experience. Very hard to follow the trail in places, and there were some killer spruce traps along the way. No way around it---that is a tough winter peak!
I think the best way to do it is if you can car spot. The new parking area for Gale River Trail is at Beaver Brook Ski Trails. The way to Gale River Trail is well signed. I'd say it's about 2 miles.
To do this, though, I wouldn't go up that way. The hike from Galehead up to South Twin would be about all I could take. I didn't even consider it when we hiked Galehead, although the others in my group went up that way. I was cold and beat from chasing the younger legs.
When I went back I intended to hit both Twins and see what happened. Maybe I would hike out Gale River with others I knew were making the trip. I could get back to my car with them. As I detailed in the TR, it wasn't to be.
In better conditions the trip from 7 Dwarfs Motel up to North Twin, across to South then down to Galehead Hut and up Galehead, then out Gale River Trail would be about 14 miles. Similar to the hike in Gale River just to get Galehead. I'll no doubt go this way to get South Twin. Wasn't that hard to get to North Twin, just tough conditions.