Our trip begins today at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. Arrive at the AMC Highland Center this afternoon to check into a dormitory-style room. If you arrive earlier in the day, the lodge staff is happy to recommend short hikes in the area. We meet our guides and fellow travelers early this evening for an orientation and a review of the trip itinerary and gear list. We enjoy a family-style dinner, then turn in for the night in order to be well-rested for tomorrow’s hike. Dinner included.
We shuttle to the Gale River Trailhead (1,600') to begin our hike. The trail begins with a gentle descent and stays within earshot of the Gale River for three miles. As the trail gains elevation, we are rewarded with spectacular views up the valley and toward the Twin Mountains. Reaching the Garfield Ridge Trail junction, there is a significant steep and rocky climb before we reach our destination, Galehead Hut (3,800'). The hut provides co-ed, bunkhouse-style sleeping arrangements, cold running water and composting toilets. Located in the gap between Galehead and South Twin, the views to the south provide a glimpse of the vast Pemigewasset Wilderness. Later this afternoon we have the option to summit Galehead Mountain if time and weather conditions allow. All meals included.
Hiking: 4.6 miles, 5–6 hours, Elevation gain: 2,200. Optional hike: 1 mile, 1-2 hours; Elevation gain/loss: 250'.
The expertise of your trip guides will contribute to your hiking experience today. Setting out from the hut, we ascend South Twin Mountain (4,902'), the highest point of the trip. This is a strenuous hike with a gain of 1,100' in less than one mile. Reaching the summit, we take in panoramic views of Mount Guyot (4,508'), Mount Bond (4,698'), Bondcliff Peak (4,265') and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. We follow the Twinway Ridge Trail for four miles, then descend 1.5 miles with an elevation loss of 1,110'. Reaching Zealand Falls Hut (2,630'), we are rewarded with some of the White Mountain’s best scenery including brooks, marshes and waterfalls. All meals included.
Hiking: 7 miles, 6–8 hours, Elevation gain/loss: 1,100'.
We depart from Zealand Falls Hut and hike to the AMC Highland Center. Our route is dependent on weather, trail conditions and other factors. We plan to arrive at the Highland Center the afternoon. We'll enjoy a celebratory lunch together, then prepare for departures. Or, you can extend your stay to see more of the White Mountains on your own. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 2.7–5.5 miles, 1.5–2.5 hours, Elevation gain/loss: 500'–800'.