Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mt. Hale - 3/31/2012

It was 11:40am Saturday, as I made it back to the Ferncroft parking area after my hike to Whiteface and Passaconaway earlier. With that done, I had one more peak to bag before calling it a night and getting ready for the next day's adventure. That was Mt. Hale. From Wonalancet, I made it to the parking area across from Zealand Road on 302 in about an hour including a stop to get some more snack supplies at the Irving up ahead. I set off up Zealand Road from the lot at about 1:30pm.

By now, the day was so beautiful, bright, and sunny. I saw two women near the beginning of the road on my way in, and that was it. The road got slightly mushy in some places making it seem like a treadmill providing some resistance, but I would try to find the crunchy sparse snow or harder gravel to walk on. I made the approximately 2.5 mile walk in exactly one hour. 
Start of the Hale Brook Trail
Once past the stream on the Hale Brook Trail, there was some snow and a monorail with pretty good footing on either side of it, but it would still make me slip here and there like going up Passaconaway earlier. Hale is a pretty steep climb given the mileage, and its not necessarily very easy, but I don't recall stopping once. I noticed at how well I was doing on time, and just kept it going, one foot in front of the other to the top.
Hale Brook Trail rounding the corner near the top
The summit was spectacular. It was so bright and not a cloud in the sky. Despite no magnificent views from below the tress, it was a great hike. I enjoyed a quick snack and took in the summit all by myself for about 10 minutes. I looked up and saw the crescent moon setting among the deep blue sky.

Open summit of Mt. Hale
Me on Mt. Hale for the 2nd time (#43)
Next, I got ready for the gallop down, which went very well with no falls. The road walk was not easy physically or mentally, but I had a nice few glimpses of Mt. Washington along the way to boost my spirits. Normally, Mt. Hale is 4.4 miles and 2200ft, but this time with the road closed, its nearly 10 miles. In total for the day, I hiked 21.3 miles and 6,750 feet of elevation gain.

Since I was back to my car around 5:30pm, I had a whole bunch time to get settled for the night before my next hike on Sunday, which would be approximately another 20 miles but with more elevation gain than I just did today. That was something I was a little bit nervous of because I had not decided my exact route just yet in order to end on Carter Dome. I hopped in the car and my next stop was Gorham to get a huge meal in me for the night, some snacks for the night, morning, and hike, a couple of batteries, and some more drinks. After I picked those items up, I headed down Route 16 and car-camped it in the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center lot. This was safest lot in the area to do this, and because I was by myself with no car spot, its at least accessible for a few mile walk depending where I would end.

Be sure to stay tuned and read my next trip report on the Wildcats and Carters to see how I wrapped up this mammoth weekend hiking 8 peaks to finish my second round.

Hike Stats
Trails: Zealand Road, Hale Brook Trail
Distance: 9.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,950 ft
Book Time: 4hrs


  1. Congrats on your accomplishment - again! I can only wish that I had your level of energy and endurance. Your hikes are epic journeys and I can't wait to read them each week. I'll have to be happy with my 4,000 footers - one at a time.

    Your blog is definitely one of my favorites and I have it listed on my blog. You can be sure that I will be following your Mt. Whitney adventure. Great blog, spectacular hikes! ~Don

    1. Hi Don,
      Thank you VERY much. I took notice last week, and I greatly appreciate the link on your site. By the way, nice set up, and best of luck with your blog. I will be checking into yours as well. I can't wait to get some skis of my own next year so that I can do some back country stuff, Tuckerman's in particular, like you have. Whitney will be coming up so fast. It's exciting. I think its the mountains that bring out the energy and endurance, its tough to get the same feeling while sitting here at work, hence our need for Outdoor Diversions on a regular basis, which is my/our way of forgetting about the real-world temporarily. Thanks!