|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Hale, South Hale, NH|
||Zealand Road, Zealand Trail, Twinway, Lend-A-Hand Trail, bushwhack|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, August 5, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I parked at the trailhead for Hale Brook Trail. No fee there but there is a $5/day fee at the Zealand Trail trailhead. I was the 5th car in the Hale lot around 10:30am. Only one other around 6:15pm. The Zealand Lot was pretty full but looked like it still had a few spots. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All the water crossings were very easy to get across as water levels are low right now. Hopefully thunderstorms in the coming days won’t change that too too much! |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Zealand Trail is its usual wonderful self :) A bit of brush is encroaching on the trail and could be trimmed back but it’s pretty minor. I don’t recall any issues on Lend-a-Hand Trail either. Both trails were blazed in blue and easy to follow. |
||I saw one on my way out Zealand Trail. |
||They didn’t bother me until I stopped at the summit of South Hale and once I got back to Lend-a-Hand Trail from my bushwhack. Then there were at least several dozen swarming me. IIwas moving quickly though. I don’t recall any mosquitos; only what looked like Black flies. |
|Lost and Found:
||A great day even though my plans changed several times! The original plan was to do Waumbek from the Berlin Fish Hatchery but I was a bit worried about finishing before dark given my late start so I opted to do the loop over Hale instead. I thought I’d park at Hale Brook trailhead, go up the road to Zealand Trail then ascend Hale via Zealand Trail, Twinway and Lend-a-Hand Trail, then descend back to my car along Hale Brook Trail and hopefully have some time for some shorter redlined in the evening :) . When I saw one of the little bumps of South Hale and missed on the view spur along Lend-a-Hand Trail though, I decided to go back the way I came, look for the view spur, and bushwhack to the top of South Hale. |
This was my first time on the Lens-a-Hand Trail and I really enjoyed it. The views are fairly limited but the trail has a nice grade, nice surroundings, and not too bad of footing. The ledgy area is very nice. The view spur toward Carrigain Notch is right where the guidebook said it would be; I should have paid more attention on the way up. It’s on the right shortly after the ledges and is obvious enough if you’re looking. I likely missed it because it’s off to the side right as you scramble up a little mini-ledge. It’s getting overgrown though. A herd path caught my eye towards the beginning of the ledge area which is what made me think of the bushwhack (I thought I’d remembered a South Hale on the NH500 list as hoped that was it...I should really do my research 😂).
The small brooks that flow into the trails around the plank walkways towards the beginning of the trail didn’t have enough water to flow so just led to significant mud and/or standing water. I had the summit of Hale to myself around 1:15pm. I noted where the unoffficial Fire Wardens Trail enters the summit area :)
On my way back down, I started my bushwhack from the herd path I noted earlier. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a herd path and faded in and out. As anticipated, this area is a bit swampy which made it difficult to travel through. Luckily it was very short and we’ve had dry weather. Only time of the day where I questioned my decision to wear trail runners although only one got sucked off my foot 🙃 I headed towards the woods to avoid ascending too steeply, then turned left to ascend the northeast bump (the only one visible from the ledges on Lend-a-Hand Trail). It got very steep as anticipated but also very bouldery and thick. As this would be my toughest bushwhack to date I considered turning back but soon it very quickly leveled out. The rest of the ascent was moderate and more open. I followed a herd path at times that quickly faded in and out. From the top of the bump I descended and headed towards the main bump of Hale. The descent was very steep and seemed unavoidably dense although I somehow managed to avoid it on my way back. . The ascent up the main bump was less dense and at an easier grade. The main bump is quite large so I methodically went around looking for the highest point. I headed a bit north and found the ground rising up quite a bit and knew I’d found it :D The final push is unavoidably dense. The summit register is in good shape. Very cool to see people signing in back in 1991. The last person I could find to sign in did so in May! I more or less returned the way I came in.
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.