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Mt Garfield, Galehead Hut - page 2 of 3

As anyone knows who's ever climbed it, the views from Mt Garfield on a nice day are superb. And after a long climb, I was ready to just sit down on the ledges, relax, have some lunch, and enjoy those views.

To the east, I could see the Twins and Bonds, as well as my intended destination, Galehead Hut, which from this distance, was merely a white speck amongst a vast sea of trees. Mt Lafayette and Franconia Ridge dominated the eastern and southeastern horizon, while Owl's Head and the western half of the Pemigewasset Wilderness spread out far below me. The long thin winding line of Franconia Brook divided the lower slopes of Owl's Head and the Mt Bond ridge. And somewhere down there, hidden beneath the foliage, near the junction of Franconia and Lincoln Brooks, was the 13 Falls Campsite where Muffin and I had stayed almost 9 years earlier. This thought made me a little sad, as Muffin was older now and no longer up to long arduous mountain hikes.

After a nice rest, I was ready to move on toward Galehead Hut. But before leaving the summit, I took one last look to the north, where at the base of the Twin Range, lay the little town of Twin Mountain and the smaller peaks beyond.

I had hiked the Garfield Ridge Trail as far as the Garfield Ridge Campsite once before, but hadn't yet explored below that point. The Garfield Ridge Trail is notorious for its numerous and tedious ups and downs, which I was soon to see for myself. Because of this, itís considered a much tougher hike than one would assume by looking at a map or the elevation gain.

Before continuing down that unknown portion of the trail, I stopped at the Garfield Ridge Campsite to take another look around. It hadn't changed much since Muffin and I had last been there in the fall of 2000. The shelter, which accommodates 12 persons, was snug enough as these open lean-tos go, at least as long as the wind and rain wasn't whipping in from the south. Although clearly showing its age, the interior was tidy and swept clean. Since the Garfield Ridge Trail is part of the Appalachian Trail, this shelter sees a lot of use. In order to save weight, many thru-hikers don't carry tents and so count on these shelters for their nightly accommodations. Personally, I prefer the privacy of a tent, but of course, I've never been on that long of a backpack trip.

Next, I checked out the nearby outhouse with its quarter-moon cutout on the door, which incidentally doesn't actually go all the way through to the inside as they seem to in movies or pictures on outhouse calendars. I also took a quick look at the tent platforms and the dishwashing area. In these backcountry campsites, at least in the White Mountains, the dishwashing areas are always located away from the sleeping areas so any odors don't attract bears and other animals to the tents or shelter.

South Twin and Galehead Mtn from Mt Garfield. The white speck in the col between the 2 peaks is Galehead Hut.

The northern end of Franconia Ridge from Mt Garfield. At the right is Mt Lafayette and North Lafayette, followed my Mts Lincoln and Little Haystack to their left. My Liberty is at the extreme left.

Closeup of Mt Lafayette. The Garfield Ridge Trail begins here, descending to the right in this photo.

The southern end of Franconia Ridge and Owl's Head. The two pointed peaks in the distant center are Flume and Liberty. Owl's Head is the smaller rounded hump at the left.

Owl's Head and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Franconia Brook is the thin winding line running to the left of Owl's Head. Lincoln Brook cuts across from right to left in front of Owl's Head.

Self-portrait on the summit of Mt Garfield. Behind me is the Franconia Brook valley.

Looking northeast from Mt Garfield. The slopes to the right are the lower reaches of the Twins. The town of Twin Mountain is just behind them.

Relaxing on Mt Garfield while overlooking the Lincoln Brook valley.

Garfield Ridge Shelter. This popular campsite and Adirondack-style shelter is on Garfield Ridge Trail (also the Appalachian Trail) below Mt Garfield.

Inside view of Garfield Ridge Shelter, which accommodates 12 persons.

The Garfield Ridge Campsite outhouse. Notice the quarter-moon cutout (which doesn't actually go all the way through) on the door,

Dishwashing area at the campsite. The dishwashing area is always located away from the sleeping areas so any odors don't attract bears and other animals to the tents.

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