Finally, we?ll be hiking with Mark and Natalie Truman. We?ve been wanting to get together for years and being able to do a hike which would incorporate three four thousand foot mountains was icing on the cake.
We met them at the Galehead River trailhead parking lot and our plan was to leave our van there and have Mark drive us all to the North Twin trailhead where we would take that route to the summit of North Twin then over to South Twin. From there, a short stop at Galehead hut to drop off our packs and then on to the summit of Galehead.
Starting out, the trail was wet and the air muggy but the conversation kept our minds occupied with the anticipation of summiting mountains we?ve been talking about for months. Our plan also included stopping every hour for a ?snack break? to keep our bodies fueled. We anticipated crossing the Little River several times but we avoided this by taking the recommended bushwack. At the end of the bushwack we stopped once again at a slight detour because of ?undermining? of the trail due to the recent heavy rains.

This obstacle was marked with colored tape strung between the trees.

Crossing the stream by holding on to some recent blow downs we were able to cross without any difficulty.

With all the nonstop conversation, it seemed like in no time we reached the first viewpoint.

It wasn?t long before we reached the viewpoint just below the summit of North Twin and then the actual peak. Here?s the group shot at the summit of North Twin.

Neighboring summits were still engulfed in clouds but it looked promising that the sky would eventually clear.

Next stop: South Twin, which we reached in about 30 minutes.

After lingering around the South Twin summit we then started the rocky descent to the Galehead hut, which drops 1,100 feet in 8 tenths of a mile.

We finally reached the hut; filled our nalgenes with cool refreshing water, rested awhile and then it was on to the summit of Galehead. Mike suggested that summiting a four thousand footer without a full pack would be cheating. Mark kind of agreed but the girls said ?no way? we?re leaving our packs at the hut.

Anticipating the long hike down to the van we delayed leaving, taking in the stunning views.

Soon we were back on the trail; taking breaks every so often and eventually reaching the new section of the Gale River Trail which proved to be quite muddy. It will take some time before the trail ?settles in?.

After dropping off Mark and Natalie at their car and saying our ?goodbyes? we headed back to Lincoln with intentions of getting a good pizza at G&M. As we neared the Basin, a driver coming the other way on the Franconia Notch Parkway flashed his lights. Five seconds later; BOOM!!!! Michael who was driving, sees a moose?s head come thru the driver?s side windshield. Glass was everywhere. We were able to safely pull off to the side of the road and we just looked at each other and said ?Are you alright??

We got out of the van as vehicles started to pull over to offer assistance. Michael wrapped his bloody hands in a towel which we brought along for the hike. Apparently, he had multiple cuts from trying to push the windshield back out so he could see where he was going. Within 15 minutes the state police and then the EMT?s arrived. They checked us out and took all the needed information and then drove us back to our room at the Franconia Notch Motel which was only 5 minutes away. Before we left the scene, Donna took a few pictures of the van and the now dead moose.

The next day we called all the necessary people, including: the insurance company, car rental (Enterprise) and Arnolds, which is where the van was towed. After breakfast, Enterprise came and picked us up at our motel room and drove us to their office In Plymouth. We were able to get a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee for the remainder of our trip. We stopped by Arnolds and took a few more pictures. Looking at the van we realized just how lucky we were.

It could have been much worse.
We didn?t let this incident dampen the rest of our vacation and we would eventually do another 12 mile hike on the Moats.
The van was not totaled and is now being repaired in New Hampshire. I guess this is a good excuse for us to come back sooner than we thought once the repairs are complete.

Thank you all for your thoughts and concerns.

Thank you Mark and Natalie for a great day of hiking in the mountains we all love so much. Look forward to our next hike in the White Mountains!

Mike and Donna

Here?s the link to the rest of the pictures: