Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Hale, NH
Trails: Hale Brook Trail, Lend-A-Hand Trail, Twinway, Zealand Trail, A-Z Trail, Avalon Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of space at both Crawford Depot and Hale Brook. The parking area for Crawford Depot has a massive puddle taking up some of its spots, but there was still enough room. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossings on Hale Brook were easy. The actual river crossings on Lend-a-Hand were also easy, but the rock-hopping when the trail became a river wasn't so easy. Crossings on A-Z were also not difficult, though again there were large sections of difficult rock-hopping where the trail was basically a river. The crossing at the bottom of Avalon Trail, only 0.3 miles from the trailhead, was the only legitimately difficult actual crossing of the day, and I was so wet already that I was OK with stepping on submerged rocks with 2-3" of water on them. Expect a lot of standing and running water and mud on the trails for the next few days. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: A few blowdowns scattered around, but nothing terrible. All signs are in place. Drainage is the big one here. Hale Brook was damp, with some mud and a few areas of standing and running water, but it was still the best of the bunch today. Lend-a-Hand and A-Z both have large areas where the trail is flooded and rock-hopping is necessary to avoid stepping into the water, and it looked like some of these sections are always wet. The descent on A-Z and Avalon was a fiesta of wet, slippery rock and mud. There were some rock steps - some were useful but others were not. In addition, parts of the western section of A-Z Trail were very brushy and could definitely use some clearing. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: If they enjoy getting really wet and muddy, they'd probably be fine. 
Bugs: Surprisingly, not very many. Only a few when I stopped. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing. 
Comments: Wanted to get one more hike in during the long weekend, and so decided to redline Lend-a-Hand and A-Z trails. I knew I might get wet, but it was a warm day and the biggest water crossing of the hike is right at the end, so I wasn't too concerned about that. Took the AMC hiker shuttle from the Highland Center, and the driver graciously allowed me to get off at Hale Brook even though the shuttle only officially stops at Zealand.

Hale Brook was a steady, damp climb - as the WMG says, it's generally smoother in the lower half and rockier in the upper half. Nothing too bad. Lend-a-Hand, however, has large sections of unavoidable standing and running water. That, plus the wet rocks (which were almost everywhere), made it take more time than you might expect. Zealand Hut was quite busy with lots of hikers who had hiked in from Zealand Trail. Some people were playing in the falls as well. The sun was out while I was there, but I hope those people were all able to take cover once the rain began maybe an hour after I left.

The western section of A-Z trail is quite something. The lower part is quite narrow and very brushy, but not tough to follow. It has a few river crossings, but they're pretty easy. Maybe a mile and a half up from Zealand Trail, though, it started to rain, and it POURED for maybe 15-20 minutes. That was more than enough time to get me completely and totally soaked, raincoat or no raincoat. The trail became even more muddy and puddly than it already was. The crossings just below the steep section up to the ridge were not difficult, but the areas of standing water next to them, where the trail had been totally flooded, were much more difficult to get through. The climb up to the ridge is fairly steep, but not very technical and the wet rocks didn't hamper my progress. It was still a tough climb since I was very tired (and, of course, completely soaked) by that point. The descent from the top of the ridge back down to Crwaford Notch was mostly just wet rocks and mud, with some sections of running water on the trail as well.

It was a tough, exhausting day with many challenges, and I ended it bedraggled but satisfied with what I had accomplished.  
Name: GN 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-07-04 
Link: https:// 
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