I don't see a lot of action on this forum anymore, but thought I'd post in case anyone still looks here for info
The original plan was to do the Twins, but the weather wasn't looking fantastic and 2 out of 3 of us had done the Twins in the rain before and didnt feel like repeating it unless it was a stellar day. Plus it had rained all week and the water crossing was a concern as is, so we decided to go with plan B - Galehead.
One of us had not done Galehead yet, the other two had, but didn't seem to mind the repeat. If it was going to rain and be socked in, might as well be a wooded summit with less views than the Twins so you don't have as much of a "What am I missing" feeling. Rick and Melissa had no views when they did Galehead, so for all of us the views would be a bonus.
Great start to the day- sun shining and much warmer than we expected and planned for, and much more than you would think for October. Luckily I had still decided that a short sleeve underneath the layers was a good idea so I could peel down to that on the way up. The trail starts off nice and pretty with the foliage and you start to think about the simple things in life and not all the every day things you usually have running through your head. We got to the trail relocation, which was new to all of us, and decided that the long john bottoms needed to come off as well. Might have needed them up high on the Twins, but did not need them down here. Finally at the right temp, we headed down the new trail, with the river crossing about half way up this section. This will be a nice trail when it settles and firms up some.
Once back on the original trail, we continued on for a while and then started the uphill climb. A few steep sections, nothing horrible, but you have to gain elevation somewhere! We made it up to the junction with the Garfield Ridge trail, and made the quick jaunt up the the hut. It was pretty quiet when we got there, so we drop the packs, grabbed the rain coats and headed for the summit. We wanted to get that out of the way while it was still not raining! We'd taken enough breaks to make it after Noon when we hit the summit, so we were surprised that we weren't wet yet. Just after taking the underwhelming summit, the first drops came. We quickly headed back to the hut, stopping at the overlook quickly to get a few shots back to the Twins and the Hut below. We made it back to the hut quickly and it was raining pretty good by then.
We were very happy with our decision to do Galehead once we were sitting in the warm, dry hut with a warm beverage in hand : ) My birthday was two weeks ago, and Melissa's birthday was just the other day, so I had brought up some Bailey's to surprise Melissa as a birthday gift (to share of course), and Rick surprised us both by bringing cupcakes with candles, and cards with our white mountain parking passes in them! So we had a small birthday party, ate lots of snacks, bailey's and warm beverages and hung out for about an hour just relaxing and staying dry. The hut was pretty crowded when we got back, but cleared out pretty quickly as everyone headed to the wet summit.
We finally decided we better head out. We put on the pack covers and headed down what we thought would be a wet, rocky trail. It was wet, but the going was much easier than we thought. Deliberate steps, but we made good time of it. The relocation trail, however, was a miserable, sloppy mudpile. Nothing but mud pits, mud everywhere! It was unavoidable, there were just no dry places on the trail. We quickly got to the point where it just didn't matter. I don't mind walking in the mud, or walking through muddy sections, but this was deep, boot sucking mud, and that just makes it hard. So we tried to manuver around it as much as possible without getting off trail too much (which just wasn't an option in some places). Needless to say, we ended up with mud up our pants to our knees, and boots covered by the time we got done! At least we stayed on our feet and our butts stayed clean!
Over all it was a great hike, a great day, and only half of it in the rain : ) We expected a cold, wet hike for the whole day, so it really was a nice surprise and a good foliage hike for a change (we get rained out and no views every year!). A great hike, just keep in mind that the new trail is a mile of mud if it's raining : )
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