I love when Monday holidays roll around because it means I get to hike with my hiking friends that I normally don't get to hike with unless I take a Saturday or Sunday off from work. We all held our breath and crossed our fingers for "Presi" weather so we could visit the Presidentials on President's Day but alas, it was not meant to be this year. The forecast called for 65-85 MPH winds in the northern Presidentials with 100 MPH wind gusts on Mount Washington. No thanks! We settled for our Plan B for the day which was a traverse over North & South Twin Mountains and Galehead Mountain.
We had a strong group of six assembled (Denise, Matt, Ian, Tim, Ed and myself) which would have been great if we would have to have broken trail which we did not, thanks to two formidable souls who spent their Saturday breaking trail for us! At least one other person also traversed the route on Sunday, packing it down even further. The trail was perfectly packed out allowing us to make excellent time up North Twin and then over to South Twin and then finally over to Galehead. There was quite a bit of drifting going down the Twinway from South Twin to the Galehead Hut but since we were going down we were able to make quick work of this section as well.
The hike felt like it was flying by and was made even shorter by our limited stops and time spent on summits. While the wind at the North Twin outlook wasn't all that bad and quite tolerable, this was not the case at all on the summit of South Twin. The wind was fierce and the temperature bitter. I could feel where my balaclava had slid down my cheek leaving some skin exposed to the harsh air which later had me concerned that some damage in the form of frost nip had been done (it ended up being a small spot that burned and then peeled the next day, not sure if it was actual nip but it hurt like hell for a bit).
It was an absolutely gorgeous blue bird day despite the harsh wind and bitter wind chill. Plentiful sunshine and excellent company is always a plus to distract one's attention away from such things. It may not have been a Presi Day but we certainly got our views and had a great hike. Denise and I both checked off three more peaks off our winter lists and Matt, Tim, Ian, and Ed all got these peaks for their February Grid (though I think some will deny they are actively pursuing the Grid).
Now for some pictures so I can get back to packing up my life so I can be on the AT in 32 days! Yikes!