Normally I’d want to find a more quiet place to be on a busy holiday weekend but we have a goal of finishing Frank’s 4,000 foot mountains in NH. It is a great goal and also doubles as training for us for more extreme hikes. We camped nearby at Tarry Ho Campground so our ride was a quick 10 minutes to the trailhead. The parking lot was overflowing by the time we got there so we were prepared for a hike with lots of people. Somehow we didn’t see many people on trail for long and enjoyed quiet times at stream crossings and along the wooded trail until the summit where many hikers were taking in the 360 degree views on Mt. Garfield.
We haven’t been hiking much lately which made the shorter distance of Garfield a great choice for us, 10 miles round trip is shorter for many of the 4,000 and higher mountains in NH. The trail has gentle grades for most of the way and is more like a walk in the woods until the final summit push. Mohammed Ellozy’s hiking website reveals that Mt. Garfield Trail was a tractor road which explains the easy grade and good footing. The stream crossings were low due to lack of rain lately and made rock hopping across much easier than normal.
Wild flowers were blooming everywhere, we had frequent stops as I couldn’t resist taking photos of all the beautiful flowers!
After enjoying wooded trail and many flowers we were very amused to encounter a large patch of snow in the trail around a turn and so late in the season. I may have had to throw a snowball or two!
At the final stretch to the summit the snow turned to slippery melting ice pack and made for a challenging bit of trail. Much easier going up but the way down was an accident waiting to happen for me as I tend not to have cat like balance especially down hill. I was one the only one on trail wearing microspikes, I was glad for the added traction thanks to recommendations from friends who hiked the trail the day before.
The summit is all rock with the cement remnants of an old fire cabin at the highest point. The wind usually is strong at the summit and was really whipping on our visit. The amazing views were well worth bundling up for and we enjoyed lunch just below the summit tucked up against a ledge. With views of endless ridges of mountains and no roads in sight it is really a place I feel privileged to be.