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Friday, August 8th 2014

11:21 AM

Garfield NH 8/8/14

     My friend Gary and I had tried to climb Mt Garfield NH (4501') in July 2001, but it rained when we hit Table Rock and we turned back.  I came back the next weekend and climbed it.  On August 8, 2014, Gary and I climbed it on a day that was supposed to be Mostly Sunny, but instead it rained on us when we were on the summit and later we were caught in torrential rains coming back down.

     We started the hike at 7:18 AM and continued along an esker that has good footing.  After that the trail was full of large rocks and had areas full of water but passable.  By 9:00 AM we arrived at the large flat boulder that we had named "Table Rock" on the prior hike.  After that the trail continues a bit more steeply and comes to six zigzags.  We met some backpackers coming down.  The whole day we met only backpackers and no day hikers such as ourselves.  The sky was mostly cloudy with breaks of sunshine and we were hopeful that "the fog would burn off."  It was about 66 degrees and humid.  The trail and the trees were very wet.

     When we reached the summit at 11:35 the sky was totally overcast.  A chilly wind was blowing clouds from the north to the south, covering all of the White Mountains that we could see.  At times the wind swirled around.  Often as the clouds were coming south when they hit Garfield they cleaved in twain and this meant we could see the Pemigewasset Wilderness down below, Franconia Brook, Owls Head, and a number of mountains to the south.  At times we could see fuzzy outlines of West Bond, Bondcliff, Mt Flume, Carrigain and others, blurred a bit by moist haze.  At one point I could see the Galehead hut off to the east.  We had lunch and waited to see if the clouds would clear away.  A few backpackers joined us on the summit. 

     At 1:05 it started raining heavily and all the hikers on the summit decided to make a quick exit downhill.  As we descended the rain abated and turned into light intermittent showers.  We met hopeful backpackers coming uphill, and we could see that they had been rained on heavily when they were further downhill.  While coming down the mountain suddenly Gary and I were hit by a heavy downpour, a deluge, which drenched us to the skin.  We went off the side of the trail in hopes the trees would shelter us a little but the trees were all scraggly birches and spruces that provided scant cover.   Eventually the rain let up and we continued downhill. 

     By Table Rock the rain had let up.  As we approached there was a large group of backpackers, young men in some sort of a group,  coming uphill.  We decided it would be a good joke if we put a sign on Table Rock:  RESERVED FOR MR. KLING ---- SITTING OR LOITERING STRICTLY PROHIBITED.  Down below Table Rock the three streams were gushing more vigorously than they had been on the way up, but we managed to get across them all the same.

     We were back out at 5:08 PM and found that it had not rained at the base elevations at any time all day. 

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