Saturday, January 25, 2020
Start: Beaver Brook XC trailhead on Rt 3
End: Haystack Rd at Rt 3
Elevation gain/loss: 4194′
I stayed at The Notch Hostel overnight, and was in bed asleep by 9pm. I was rudely awakened by some woman at 10:30pm, loudly scolding someone for taking a bunk she believed to be hers. Thankfully, I’d taken some Benadryl and I was able to roll over and go back to sleep. I was awake at 4:50am, got changed, packed up, boiled water, and hit the road. Since I was up so early, I stopped at the Dunkin Donuts in Lincoln for some breakfast and then drove the 20 minutes to the Beaver Brook XC/Picnic area.
I was on trail by 6:30am, taking the Beaver Brook XC ski trail over to Gale River Rd, and then over to the Gale River trail. Everything was packed out so microspikes were all that I needed. The trail meandered its way up to the intersection with the Garfield Ridge Trail (AT), and I went left, heading the 0.6mi to the hut. From there, I took the Frost trail and spur to go the 0.4mi to the summit of Galehead.
Then it was back to the hut and up towards South Twin. The ascent was a bit steep but not unmanageable; it was snow-covered and didn’t have a ton of ice. At the summit of South Twin, the winds were blowing gusts of 50 MPH, so I took a few pictures and hoofed it for North Twin.
The 1.3mi to North Twin were fairly gentle and mostly packed out and the clouds were being amazing.
Once I reached the summit of North Twin, I decided that I’d rather descent to Haystack Rd and catch a hitch along Rt 3 than go back up to South Twin and then go down the steep side. So I threw on my snowshoes, since the snow hadn’t been packed down since the last snow, and walked the 4.5-5 miles down to Haystack Rd. Along the way, I ended up crossing Little River three times, and found it to be solid safe ice, provided you were choosy about your crossing location. Once I got to the trailhead, I walked the additional ~3 miles along Haystack Rd to get to Rt 3; since it’s a snowmobile area, the road was well packed down so I barebooted it. At Rt 3, it only took me 5-10 minutes to catch a ride back to my car.