Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garfield Ridge and Hawthorne Falls 8/12/13

I've been hiking every day since Sunday as I'm up in Lincoln on my yearly White Mountain Vacation. So I'm doing with a little different format for this blog as I don't have the time to spend doing a lengthy one.

The tale....   A couple years ago I was looking at Google Earth for something, don't remember what it was now. But while there, I spotted the great looking slide on the eastern flank of Flat Top Mtn. which is just north of, and below Garfield. While looking closer on G.E., I spotted one of those photo icons near by and clicked on it. It was a photo of Hawthorne Falls. An absolutely gorgeous fall. I stopped in at The Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln to ask Steve Smith about Hawthorne Falls. I was sort of embarrassed to say I found that while checking out this remote slide I was thinking of going to. Of coarse, he'd been there. As a matter of fact, again just recently. The Mountain Wanderer So now I had 2 destinations in that area. I finally decided that Monday was the time to it. But I added a 3rd spot to the mix. When I did the Garfield Ridge Peaks a couple years ago it was a zero viability day. I was told I missed out on some Great views into the Pemi.Wilderness from some ledges. Being the views whore that I am, a return was a must.

I headed out on the Gale River Trail Monday morning. A nice trail but you start to wonder when it's going to start the real climb. When it does it's none stop, steep rock stairs for about a half mile. Once on the Garfield Ridge Trail, I hiked west to the spot I wanted to start the bushwhack to the ledges. It was fairly short but pretty dense woods. Well worth the effort though.

After my fill of views, I moved on west to a point where I wanted to start my bushwhack down to Hawthorne Falls. One reason I liked this plan is that I find it much easier to bushwhack, downhill. The woods were pretty good and I soon found myself at the upper reaches of Garfield Brook. I followed it, and several great little cascades to Hawthorne Falls. That was great but the prize was something to see.One of the most beautiful remote spots I've ever been to.

Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time there, taking numerous photos. It was also the perfect spot for lunch. I think I was there almost an hour before I had to force myself to leave. I did have one more objective. Flat Top Mtn. Slide. From Hawthorne Falls, to the near the base of the slide, I had no luck with the woods at all. I ran into every kind of nasty stuff a bushwhack has the potential to throw at you. By the time I got there I no longer had the time I needed to do this slide, but more so no ambition. It was however a beautiful spot in itself.

I took a few quick photos here then headed off. On the way down I was lucky enough to find what I believe was the old Galehead Trail. Which made for a quick descent, reconnecting with the Gale River Trail.

No regrets from this day at all and I now know a great route back to Flat Top Mtn. Slide for another day. The funny thing is, that is what this trip was all about. I still came out a winner though. ;-)



  1. Terrific report on some terrific destinations, Joe!

    And speaking of terrific, your photo of Hawthorne Falls is awesome! I've never managed to get a photo of it as good as yours!

    Steve Smith can correct me if I'm wrong about this, but I think that the old trail corridor you found was the old Gale River Trail. Could be very wrong, but it's my understanding that today's Gale River Trail is what was once known as the Galehead Trail. Confusing? Yes it is! :-)


  2. Thanks John. This was a great adventure. And thanks for the comment about the Falls photos. I worked hard on those.

    And after double checking, you are correct about the trail names.

  3. Great adventure, Joe, and the photos of the view from Mt. Pam/East Garfield Ridge and of Hawthorne Falls are stunning! Thanks for posting.


  4. Thanks very much Steve. Now I just need to get back in there to climb Flat Top Mtn Slide.