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S. Twin, Bonds, Galehead, Garfield, Lafayette - 19-21.9.02



Date(s) Hiked: Thursday, 19 Sept.-Saturday, 21 Sept.

Trails(s) Hiked: Gale River, Garfield Ridge, Twinway, Bondcliff, West Bond Spur, Frost, Garfield Ridge (again), Greenleaf, Old Bridle Path.

Total Distance: 27.8 miles (17.2 on the 19th, 7.7 on the 20th, 2.9 on the 21st)

Difficulty: Moderate to trying.

Conditions: Near perfect. On the 19th and 20th, highs in the 60s or 70s, breezy, somewhat humid in the cols, partly cloudy with good visibility (i.e. Presidentials clear from S. Twin and Bond), but rapidly turning to fog on afternoon of 20th at Lafayette summit.

Special Required Equipment: Extra water!

Trip Report: Started up Gale River Trail at 0605 on the 19th, then onto Garfield Ridge Trail for the short walk to Galehead and onto Twinway and UP!! the very steep path to S. Twin, with clear skies and beautiful views in all directions - just moderate haze in the distance. Twinway to Guyot was very steamy - warmest of the day, but air conditioning and views from Bond, Bondcliff and W. Bond superb. Blueberries are ripe near Guyot and on Bondcliff, where a peregrine falcon was cruising the heights. Also saw boreal chickadees on Twinway from S. Twin to Guyot.
Returned to Galehead hut for night via Bondcliff and Twinway, including cheerful zoom down S. Twin with hut crew member.
Great dinner & company - about 8-10 others, including two thru-hikers.
Hiked down Garfield Ridge at about 0800 on the 20th, then, up Garfield (steep and rocky with many ups and downs) with super views at the summit,
and on to Lafayette, with great views on the steep ascent and more blueberries at N. Lafayette. Also, a raven performed a tight roll (even appearing to go into a very brief stall while upside down) as it played in the snappy breeze.
Great views on Lafayette to the east, but foggy to the west and at about 1330 the summit was enveloped in mist and the temperature dropped quickly. Dawdled anyway, then strolled down to Greenleaf, again good food and company, but many more guests.
Dropped down at mid-morning on the 21st on Old Bridle Path, caught shuttle to Gale River Trailhead - harumph. Hate to leave the hills.
Hospitality and food were very good at the huts, especially Galehead (turkey dinner with the fixins, fun talking with hikers and moonlit tromp up Galehead to outlook & summit - very pretty at night).
On a general note, foliage appears to be changing only about 30-40 percent of the way up W. Bond, the most yellow of the mountains. Most leaves are still very dark green.