Franconia Ridge Speed Loop

Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and me.
Time:  3:15 including all rests
Details:  1:05 to the top of Haystack (via Falling Waters), 15 minutes at Greenleaf, a few dog water/food stops between.

Decidedly hurried.

This was my 40th tag of Lincoln and my 42nd tag of Lafayette.


Owl's Head Bushwack via Garfield and Galehead

Date:  5/17/2012

  • From Garfield Trailhead to Garfield, Franconia Brook to Pemi
  • Bushwack up West Ridge to summit, return via Bowl
  • Twin Brook to Galehead, out Gale River Tr.
  • 1.6 mile trot on road to car
Team:  Dogman, tMail and me.
Condition:  pretty wet.  We waded across Twin Brook and Franconia Brook.
Time:  9.5 hrs, including 20 minutes at Galehead Hut
  • 1:25 to summit of Garfield
  • 3:25 to summit of Owl's Head (4:50 from start)
  • 2:50 to summit of Galehead (7:30 from start)
  • 2:00 to car (9:30 from start)
The bushwack route was up the 'West Ridge', sometimes called the 'Northwest Ridge'.  The descent was via the middle of the bowl.

Notes on the bushwack:
  1. We waded across Franconia Brook and followed the Lincoln Brook trail as it gained elevation.  You'll note on the map that the trail has a sharp bend to the south, followed by a bend back west.  At the second bend we headed into the woods.  If you continue on the trail another 100', you'll hit a very straight section that looks almost like a 100 yard-long cobblestone path.  Making the left anywhere along there is fine too.  That's actually where we came out.
  2. The West ridge isn't well defined - it's broadly rounded and forested, however it's no trouble to determine when you've reached it as you can detect the terrain curving down toward the west.
  3. You'll cross 4 or 5 old logging roads.  The first two are very well defined grades.  Continue across them straight up the hill or you'll just waste time moving diagonally across the bowl.
  4. At around 3600' the fir trees become challenging and you'll encounter both extensive blowdowns and an extreme thickening of the balsam as you enter into the krumholz.  We took advantage of blowdowns near the summit by walking the horizontal trunks, often quite high in the air.
  5. Many of the trunks in the blowdowns are rotted through.  Test before committing your weight.
  6. Visibility drops to 3-4ft near the summit.
  7. We didn't go all the way to the 'old' summit where the well-worn paths are.  We were actually unsure of where we were, but when we began to descend into the saddle between the summits we decided that was where we were, and turned around.  Instead of retracing our route we stuck to the western side of the ridge about 100ft below the ridge and avoided all the blowdowns.
  8. The descent into the bowl wasn't as steep as we'd imagined, however there are extensive networks of brooks draining, and a series of fascinating and muddy marshes.  If you can see Garfield as you drop into the bowl, head directly at it.  If you can't, stay on a bearing toward magnetic north.  The bowl faces South Twin and naturally turns you in that direction but that will take you .  To head toward Garfield (and return to your entry point) you will feel like you're walking along the contour lines but you really want true magnetic north.  When you hit the Lincoln Brook trail, make a right to take you down to the falls.


Garfield & Lafayette

Date:  May 5th, 2012
Route:  Garfield via Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge to Lafayette Summit, Return via Skookumchuck.
Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and me
Logistics:  Spotted a car at the Skookumchuck trailhead.
Conditions:  Dog-Friendly and soggy.  Used Microspikes on upper part of Garfield Trail.  Never after.

tMail's pics:  here
mutha's pics:  here