Next morning, it was time for our mountain-hike. I was aiming to do one of my not-yet-done 4000-footers; Luke and Sophie were up for a short-ish hike, and the hot and humid weather was promising to be unstable later in the day. The best peak that fit the bill was Mount Hale, a lower peak in the northern Pemigewasset wilderness that just pokes over 4,000 feet and which has a quite short approach hike.
Arriving at the Hale brook trailhead, there was quite a bit of hustle and bustle. A large group of hikers seemed to have gathered for an outing, along with a warbling bugler. We learned a bit later that this was one of many 9/11 commemorative parties, where groups of hikers gather together with flags and hike to the top of 4000-foot peaks. Everyone then unfurls their flags simultaneously on all peaks at noon, in remembrance of those who died on 9/11.
We started off on the trail shortly after the 9/11 hikers. The footing of the Hale brook trail is quite good - solid gravel footing and a relatively constant grade marked the first part of the trail. Higher up, it becomes steeper, but good trail work and several well-constructed switchbacks made the going easier. It is only near the top where there are a few tiring bouldery sections.
The hot and humid day had us dripping - no, pouring - with sweat in no time flat.
Sophie had not been feeling well since she'd arisen earlier in the morning, and although she started off with a charging pace from the trailhead, it soon became apparent that she was in distress. By the time we got to within 20 minutes of the summit, she was unable to continue. She and Luke turned back, and would wait for us at the trailhead.
We managed to pass most of the large group and arrived at the summit before them. The guidebook describes the summit of Mount Hale as 'open'. This is technically true - although the ring of conifers around the open area is high enough that you don't really get the sense of an open summit. There is a huge cairn, though, which provides enough of an elevation-bump for you to get views in most directions. It didn't matter all that much anyway, because the hazy, cloudy, murky air only provided dim views of the nearest peaks. We did not squander any sort of potential for nice views (by having that high ring of trees around us).
After a brief snack, we headed back down, hoping to minimize the time Luke and Sophie had to wait for us. Jenn set a break-neck pace down the trail, and we arrived back at the parking lot only 10 minutes after Luke and Sophie did. I needed a complete change of clothes before getting anywhere near a car seat.
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Mt Hale via Hale Brook Trail - Click map to expand
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet