Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks North Twin Mountain, South Twin Mountain, Southwest Twin, Galehead Mountain, Mt. Garfield, Owl's Head, NH
Trails: North Twin Trail, North Twin Spur, Twinway, bushwhack, Frost Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Franconia Brook Trail, Lincoln Brook Trail, bushwhacks, Lincoln Woods Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Spotted a car at Lincoln Woods Trailhead Saturday afternoon... only the parking lot was overflowing w/probably 100+ cars on both sides of the Kanc. Crazy. "Scored" a spot at the pulloff 1/4 mile beyond LWTH. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Little River, Franconia Brook x 2, Lincoln Brook x 2, Liberty Brook, and all feeder streams were easy rock hops as water levels are still very low. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: All in pretty good shape. Someone has even cut through the huge blowdown on Lincoln Brook Trail that's been there for a long time. It's still IN the trail, but at least one can now step over it as opposed to walking around it. Thanks! Usual mud pits on Lincoln Brook Trail and wetness on upper mile of Franconia Brook Trail. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw a skinny, tired- and sad-looking thru-hiking pooch. :( 
Bugs: Curiously, there were a few biting black flies on the bushwhack up Owls Head. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Lost 2 Band Aids on the bushwhack to SW Twin. 
Comments: It was with a bit of trepidation that I approached this particular Trailwrights six-pack, due both to the length of the excursion (almost 30 miles) and the uncertainty of the SW (Southworst) Twin 'whack which I have done 3 times before (twice from the bottom). After toying with several possible itineraries, I finally settled on doing the peak as an out-and-back from the Twinway and getting it done early in the day. In the end I was happy with how it all turned out.

Started at North Twin Trailhead w/headlamp at O'dark thirty. (Fancypants was smart and waited until sunrise to climb Mt. Hale via the Firewardens Trail.) Stayed on the east bank of Little River until the final crossing. Water level was low, but crossing rivers in the dark is not really my thing. Weather was rather surprisingly unwelcoming up high: gusty winds, fog, and drizzle greeted me on the rocky outcrop just before NT summit. Not exactly a great day for a bushwhack but I was there, so...

I continued about 2/3 mile beyond ST, armoured up with long pants and rain jacket, and began the 'whack. Going wasn't too terrible, thankfully, and I hit just 3 or 4 fir-spruce bands before reaching the summit. On the outbound I had stayed a bit to the east of the ridge; on the inbound I tried a more westerly line and was rewarded with a bit less thick stuff and, about halfway back, a visit to a spectacular rocky knob w/360 views (skies were opening up by this time). Leaving this rocky knob, however, involved the thickest of the spruce--a couple of times I was reduced to crawling! Needless to say, I was soaked (and filthy!) and was happy to get back to the Twinway and quickly strip back down to shorts and T before scaring any hikers I encountered... and, boy, did I encounter them along the Twinway and Garfield Ridge Trail.

The middle portion of the hike--South Twin to Galehead to Garfield--was uneventful, the usual wet rocks over very rough, rocky terrain. While doing Galehead, I hung my wet bushwhacking duds in a tree at the hut. With the brisk breeze, they were mostly dry 20 minutes later! The out-and-back from Franconia Brook Trail to Garfield took forever. Skies looked ominous, so I texted Fancypants asking when rain was predicted to start: "30% by 7 pm, 80% by 8." I picked up the pace and made very good time down to 13 Falls and the mile plus up Lincoln Brook Trail for Peak #6 for the day. I would be lying to say I was thrilled to be climbing Owls Head at this point.

Each of the past 3 months I have bushwhacked Owls Head (up, down, or both ways) via the NW Ridge. I'm not sure if it's faster, but the thought of slogging Lincoln Brook Trail/bog over the height of land to 3200 ft., then DOWN to the Owls Head Path at 2560 ft., then 1500 ft. steeply back UP the crazy slide is more unappealing than a 1000 ft. climb through mostly open woods w/occasional bits of thick stuff, and mileage savings to boot! The 'whack took 1:20 this time--not lying to say I actually enjoyed it!--and I was on the summit of Owlie by 4:30. Oh boy, only 9 miles to go!

Opted for the Brutus Bushwhack down--herd path gets nicer each time I take it. (Thanks Brutus and Kevin!!) Upon reaching the Black Pond Bushwhack entry point, I decided to stay on trail, having done enough bushwhacking for one day. I ate a Lara Bar, a caffeine-infused mocha gel, and an 800 mg. ibuprofen and jolted my speed walking legs into motion. It worked--made it back to car by 7:30. One minute later it started to rain. :)

This was a great hike and a weird grouping of peaks, probably the hardest of my Trailwrights six-packs, but one that I will probably not repeat anytime soon!  
Name: Snowflea 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-08-22 
Link: https:// 
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