Monday, June 13, 2011

Mt. Hale 6-5-11

My brother and I made plans for this hike almost a whole week ahead. We chose Mt. Hale, one the easier 4000 footers left on my list. This was because Kiara, my 7-year old niece was coming along. There was a week of anticipation, and the weather turned out great. Our friend Sean was available to join too and we set out to make it a great day.

Kiara happy and confident
So we headed up the Hale Brook Trail around 11am. The trail was in good condition; completely dry, except at the crossings. It is pretty steep, 2300ft in only 2.2 miles, so there were frequent breaks, of course, but that was fine. There was plenty of things to take in, so we came to enjoy the breaks ourselves. The brook crossings were fun for all of us, and they were good photo opportunities. At the first crossing, we were hanging around, and when helping Kiara across, I didn't expect the move she made and I let her slip. Her back and leg went into the brook, but thanks to her backpack, I didn't ruin the trip and all was good.

Then, about 30 seconds before this great photo, she and Bill were caught conspiring to dip me into this brook.

From there, and seemed to get a little bit steeper than it was earlier, but we all seemed like we just wanted to get there at this point, including Kiara. There was excitement when we all saw the big cairn at the top. Kiara reached her 1st 4000er, I had reached my 20th, Bill reached his 9th, and Sean reached his 5th. Field and Willey were visible from the cairn in the clear skies. The excitement lasted about 5 minutes; cut short because of the insane gnats that inhabited the summit. Out came the long sleeves, mosquito nets, and bandannas while we tried to have our lunch. We didn't feel them biting at the time, but after we got home we learned that we got eaten, all of us including Kiara. Bill said his bites felt like baseballs under his skin, and I had a bite behind each ear that felt like tiny marbles under my skin. Nasty! But despite the nasty gnats, we snapped the great summit shot you see above.

We were off the summit, descending back down the Hale Brook Trail. The gnats were less intense as we descended. We were able to enjoy going down, also stopping at the crossings again and checking out some other cool things such as this Lady slipper and toad.

Sean is pictured here enjoying one of our breaks from high above the trail:

Kiara really enjoyed the hike, as we all did. It was also another one in the books for me, and each of us for that matter, and I am very happy that it indeed was a great day.

Hike Stats
Trails: Hale Brook Trail
Miles: 4.4
Elevation Gain: 3400 ft

To view photos from this trip, please view my album:

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