Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mt. Hale - Solo Hike

Mt Hale (4,054ft)
Elevation Gain: 2,300ft
Trail: Hale Brook
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
Duration: 3.0 hrs
My 4000+ Peak #15
Listed 4000+: #38
Difficulty: Moderate

Finally good weather to hike and it's my 15th summit today! I had a late start this morning because I attended a concert last night and didn't get in until late. Got up and went out for breakfast with my husband and then packed for my solo hike. I was going to hike a smaller mountain but figured if I'm going to hike one that's 4-5 miles roundtrip, I might as well make it a 4000+ footer! I packed my usual: winter clothing just in case I ended up spending a night; Vitamin Water in addition to plain water and food; survival and first aid kits. l left detailed instructions at home on what trail I would be on and what time to expect me off the trail. And as usual, promised to check in along the trail taking a photos as well.

The trailhead parking lot off of Zealand Road is easy to find but full so I parked on the side of the road. There was a couple that had just come down off the trail as I started off. Hale Brook trail is a pleasant path with some moderately steep sections. There were 3 stream crossings on this path. The first one was over a wide wooden bridge, the second over a wide stream that was pretty easy to cross with a 'mini gorge' just downstream a bit. And the third was a narrow crossing with waterfalls both up and downstream. There are several more steam crossings but they are so small/easy it's like stepping over puddles.






 The upper part of the trail provided some wonderful trailside views!


The summit is a clearing that contains the foundations of an old fire tower. There is a summit cairn but I didn't bother climbing to the top of it to try to see if I could get any views over the trees. There were 4 other hikers at the summit who left as soon as I arrived. So I spent about 20 minutes eating my lunch and taking photos in solitude. There are some small openings around the perimeter of the summit, but I didn't go exploring because they looked like "potty paths!" I put my camera away and took out my hiking poles for my descent.

 Mt. Hale summit cairn
I was tempted to run on this hike but decided against it. There were leaves on the ground and I didn't want to take a chance tripping on tree roots or stepping into a hole covered by leaves and hurting myself. I passed 8 hikers and 2 dogs on my ascent and on my descent I passed 7 hikers and 3 dogs on their way up. At the trailhead I couldn't get a cellphone connection, but there were parts on the trail that I was able to get a connection so I was able to post updates/photos to my Facebook wall. It was a beautiful day for this hike and it felt good to solo hike a short distant since my Monroe/Franklin/Eisenhower hike just over 3 weeks ago!

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