Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Twins, Zealand & Hale - 5/29/15

With just a couple of days left to bag three 4,000-footers for my May goal, it was time to take care of North Twin and Zealand.  I planned to hike on Wednesday, but with a hectic change of plans, I head up on Friday night to start. I had wanted to squeeze these two in with a plan to meet my brother and 11 year old niece the next morning to grid-out May on Mt. Tom. I was planning to do North Twin and Zealand as separate hikes, but with a lot of stress going on personally, I decided that when I made it to North Twin in under two hours, that I would just bang out a loop, exiting over Hale, and back to my car at North Twin Trail head.
Crossing the Little River
A view back from the trail just before reaching North Twin summit
My GPS at the N. Twin outlook
Once I was on my way to South Twin there was a dense fog that penetrated the trees which had me walking through it on enclosed trail, never mind the times I was above the trees. Other than this condition, there was no concern - it was calm, no one else was out, and I was just cruising. It was tough to see at times. 
Almost to South Twin
South Twin summit
Zealand Summit 
A decent scene on Hale - moon making an appearance
Once I got to Hale, the moon and some stars made an appearance. Although there isn't a great view from Hale, if you go at night with clear skies, it can be a nice experience....a change from the typical day-time scene.  I made fantastic time running down the abandoned Firewarden's Trail back to my car. All in all it was a really fun night hike. I was feeling pretty good having let out some steam from the week's stress.  I napped for two hours before heading over to Crawford Notch about 5am for coffee and to wait for my brother and niece.

North Twin - 10th Round
South Twin - 16th Round
Zealand - 11th Round
Hale - 11th Round
Did not see another person

Trail Conditions:
The trails for this hike are all in very good shape. It was only muddy in a few places, almost no blow downs, and only a handful of snow patches left, each easily avoidable. The river was pretty tame on this day. At the 3rd crossing, just a few feet further up stream, I found a reasonable spot to hop across. The AT blazes on the Twinway were up high and seemed to be nice and clear (something that stuck out because the fog made me focus on the blazes, especially as I head out to the Twinway/Bondcliff junction - they looked pretty fresh. The abandoned Firewarden's Trail was free of any snow, and was a piece of cake to follow and run down in the dark.
Hopped the rocks right where the skinny log is. 
Sample of a sporadic snow patch
Hike Stats
Trails: North Twin Trail, North Twin Spur, Twinway, Lend-A-Hand, Abandoned Firewarden's Trail
Distance: 17.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,443 ft.
Actual Book Time: 6:36
Garmin Adventure
Photo Album Link

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