Twins-Galehead Trip Report
This trip shouldn’t have been about a bathroom, but it was, and no doubt it is the longest walk you can take to a bathroom anywhere. I’m a hut critic -- They’re expensive, attract more than their fair share of less-than-courteous people and are often staffed with snarky, condescending and too-cool-for-the-room college kids who are collectively known by the moniker, “hut croos.” But whatever I’ve said before, it’s all in the past. I love huts now. I am a fan. Reformed. (Still too expensive, though.)
Gale River Tr. is easy and scenic in the beginning. What seems like a long stroll along a birch-lined stream eventually becomes a huff-and-puff climb. The real ascent begins not far from where the trail pulls away from the stream bank. Even the Garfield Ridge Tr., which I expected to be an easy ridge walk, climbed a bit, though it soon led to the hut.
And what a hut! The new Galehead is only a year old. It’s a beaut. It’s still a hut, as I expected, but it’s new and clean with lots of room to move around. Not only was this the nicest hut I’ve been in, it was run by the best hut croo I’ve met. (Hut croos can be snarky, condescending and too cool for the room. Then again, the huts seem to attract a large share of hiking snobs for some reason I’ve never understood. Trail courtesy seems long gone.) I have to mention the composting toilets with the fresh breeze they push into the nether-parts you didn’t know that needed a fresh breeze. Clivus is my new backwoods friend.
Back to the hike. The walk up the Twinway was a mile of suck, an unrelenting 1,100 feet of boulder scrambling. Awful. The rewards were good, however. The view from South Twin is a spectacular 360-degree panoramic that includes North Twin, the Guyot-Bond Range, the Franconias and into the Pemi. The walk to North Twin was easy, but we were already tired. There’s a hump off of South Twin that made us dread the walk. A great view from North Twin of Galehead, Garfield and Lafayette.
We were beat for the walk back and arrived at the hut exhausted an hour before dinner (5p). Dinner at the hut was great after a long day: Lentil soup, wheat bread, salad, ginger chicken, couscous, peas and a spice cake. I was over-exposed and had the runs and gas. Thank God for my new fried, Clivus. Oh, and I felt like I wanted to vomit. How much do I love exhaustion and over exposure? But once my head hit the pillow, it all went away.
The next morning, it was rainy and foggy. The hut’s “backyard” was clouded in. I saw a large rabbit out of the window next to my bunk at about 5:30a. The rain broke before breakfast and I hiked alone to Galehead’s summit in the fog. It was a little summit, just a dead end in the trail. I walked back, we packed up and left. The near 3-hour walk back was uneventful. The clouds broke and it turned out to be a partly cloudy day.
- My Camelback leaked before the hike. I think something pushed on the valve when it was in the back of the Jeep. The inside of my pack was soaked.
- I had some really uncomfortable gastrointestinal funk on the way up. It lasted almost the whole trip. I fell in love with the hut’s bathroom, but not the water – it was ice cold and too cold to wash in.
- I hiked with Genner. His knee was bothering him so he didn’t hike to Galehead’s summit.
- Tried new boots: L.L. Bean Cresta Hikers. They worked great. [2008 note: after 24 peaks and a bunch of hikes in between, they’re still going strong. These boots rock. The only blister I developed in them was at the end of the Zealand-Bond traverse. I’d buy these again without hesitation, but I don’t think I need to buy another pair too soon. I hope they still make them when I do need a new pair.]
- The sun and wind did me in.
- Weather: day 1 – cool, mostly sunny, low 60s at the hut. Day 2 – cool, morning rain and fog, later partly cloudy in the valley.