Mt Hale

January 15, 2017.

A return to Hale for the third time. Not for redlining but to "guide" Phil and Jen via the Firewarden's Trail for their quest for the 48.

An 8:00 start as I got to the winter starting location just after 7:30 at the end of Little River Road. Hit some snow on the way up as it was coming down fairly decent through Franconia Notch and above. Surprisingly the small lot at the end of the road was filling up fast. Phil and Jen arrived not soon afterward with her friend Michelle. A bit of a late arrival with Mitch and Kelly and their dog Bentley and soon we were off. Across the bridge over the Little River then an immediate left turn paralleling the river for the first mile.

 

It's a straight shot up the "trail" on a very flat grade. The path leads up to to the summer trailhead for North Twin Trail since Haystack Road is closed in the winter.

 

We were bare booting it for the beginning until we hit this little grade that was slick with ice. Further up Bentley checks out the ice flows coming off a small trail side ledge.

 

Where the North Twin Trail crosses the river, for the first time I finally see it as every time I have been up here I've never noticed it before. I still need to cross here and continue on up to the second crossing for my redlining. But today is not the day as the river still has some open spots. I'll come back one day in the simmer when I happen to be passing through the area. About five more minutes up the trail and off to our left is the Firewarden's Trail. This is the old jeep path that the wardens used to use to get up to the cabin for the firetower that once stood atop of Mt Hale.

 

It's a pretty climb up through the open birches as the trail is still very easy to follow. This is the most common route to get to Hale in the winter so the path is very packed down. The snow has stopped and there are breaks of blue skies but the temp is still quite chilly as we make our way up. Somewhere along the trail I recognized two of a group of three hikers coming down towards me. They were Greg and Brian, both hiking buddies of my younger brother, who were hiking with Kathy as we introduced ourselves. A little joking about Mike not hiking anymore and it was time to move along. So I think I have met all of his crew now meeting Joe and Bob a few years back while doing Mt Cube.

 

Just below the summit where the trail levels out for a bit the old barrels are still visible with the snow cover. Less than ten minutes later and one by one we pop out onto the open but tree lined summit of Mt Hale.

 

Standing there having a few snacks and the cold settles in quickly. A short ten minute break on the summit and it's time to leave and get warmed up again as we head back down the way we came. Nothing eventful as we make it back down to North Twin Trail in pretty good time for a warmer short break. Then back down North Twin Trail and a quick exit back to Little River Road. I think this was number 32 for Phil and Jen in their persuit for the 48.


Final numbers: 8.5 miles, 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1290.7