Sunday, July 17, 2011

#33 North Twin Mountain October 11, 2009

#33 North Twin Mountain (4,761') via North Twin trail October 11, 2009

Mileage: 8.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 2,950'

Trailhead: Haystack Road off of Route 3 in Bethlehem, NH (heading toward Twin Mountain). Trailhead parking is at the end of the road. 

Lesson learned:  All sorts of weather can occur in the Whites over a single eight hour period.  

Hiked with Rich, Sandy, Joe, Jen, Dave and son, Harry.   Jen convinced Dave that hiking in the White Mountains would be a great birthday celebration and got her son Harry to join us as well.  Jen is one smart woman!  

We got to the trailhead around 8 a.m. on a clear, cold morning.  The rainy summer and unsettled fall weather left rivers and streams swollen. The water was high and fast at the first water crossing.  It took a while as we struggled with our most challenging water crossing to date but we made it across. 

The second water crossing was also tough and took some time to complete but boots managed to stay dry.

As we crossed the river a third time (this crossing is much easier), blue skies turned to clouds and  it started to rain.  

After several miles of uneventful terrain (alternating moderate and steeps) we reached a ridge where the rain turned to sleet and bitter wind.  

Walking a frozen but nicely cut path on the ridge.

A wonderful overlook appears just before the summit.  This is where we hunkered down for lunch while the wind, sleet and snow whipped around us. We were wearing our winter coats, hats and mittens. At this point, Dave must've figured out that there were better ways to spend his birthday.

I've had lunch in better conditions (and in worse)!
A cairn sits at the summit and the junction of the North Twin Spur trail and another overlook.  The summit is otherwise unremarkable. (The North Twin Spur trail goes to South Twin.)

We took the very short path to another overlook and shivered as Rich took our photo. The weather appeared to be clearing (as shown in photo below).
Beautiful views of Galehead Hut, Garfield and the Franconia Ridge are behind us.
After lunch and photos we headed back down North Twin trail with cold hands and faces. As we walked across the ridge the mist rolled in, still peppering us with sleet (see lunch photo). The water crossings had no sympathy for seven cold, tired trekkers in bulky clothing.  Rich and I had to shimmy across a fallen log on the second crossing, not a pretty sight. 

Getting across this fast water took some time and a little pole shimmy.

After what seemed like a much longer hike back, we made it to the car and headed for hot tea and cold beer.   

At a time when I am buttoning up my seasonal hiking plans and getting ready to spend the winter snowshoeing and dreaming about spring, this peak clearly was a check off my list, rounding my NH 48k "to do" list to 15 more. All 15 will be planned for next year.  

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