Submitted by Heather Wyman, AMC Berkshire Family Programs Chair
On May 17-18 2014 I led an exciting family backpacking trip to the White Mountain National Forest with 12 Scouts and fathers (AMC members as well) meeting Karen and Al from the PVHC at Galehead Hut. Planning the trip was tricky because originally, 21 people were paid or scheduled to hike, and some of the group needed to cancel last minute, including one parking lot casualty due to a stomach bug. Thanks goes to Lori Tisdell of the PVHC, who just finished her Culinary degree at HCC, who helped design a working menu of dinner and breakfast foods for the self-serve hut. Muah!
The original plan included parking at the Gale River Trail Head on Saturday, summiting Galehead, sleeping over at the hut, going over to Garfield and out the Garfield Ridge trail to a spotted car on Sunday for a 13.5 mile loop. This became problematic as the road to the trailhead(s) were still closed on Monday of the week we were to hike. The road walks would have added an additional 3.5+ miles to the hike, so I reformulated the plan meeting with the other adult leaders to see what their thoughts were, and we agreed to keep our trip limited to GaleHead hut, Galehead summit, and South Twin summit on Sunday for those that wanted to. Traction was required to attend the trip, and it was necessary for South Twin.
Fortunately, with help from the White Mountain National Forest Service, we were advised on Thursday that the road would be open for our weekend. Keeping to "Plan B", we trepidatiously prepared for a hike to the hut in 90% chance of rain, which became 100% sunshine. Al and Karen, already at the hut, advised us that the previous day/night was wrought with chilling rain and viscious wind. A delicous dinner of mexican-style chicken wraps with beans and rice with cornbread and chocolate chip cookies for dessert was prepared by the kids at the hut with little guidance from the hut caretaker, JD.
The heavy flowing Gale River crossings on Saturday were quite a challenge, but not dangerous, and looked almost like docile puddles on Sunday. There was little evidence of the evil snow monorails described from a hike to Galehead two weeks earlier until we were halfway up South Twin. Great company, great hike!