Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mt Hale hike

Mt Hale (4,054’)
I joined up with Ryan & Kristina for the second time on Christmas day for a hike in the mountains.  It was Kristina’s birthday and they celebrate by visiting a peak.  Last year we had temps in the 60’s.  This year there was plenty of snow on the ground and a lot of choices on which peak to bag.  The choice was Mt Hale, a 4,000 foot peak that featured no exposure which made it ideal on less than perfect days.  We would not be affected by the high winds on this hike.  I was happy with the choice as this was a peak I hadn’t visited before and it was on the 4,000’ list and the former fire tower site list.
At 10am we headed up the North Twin trail (1615’) which was in fine shape, fully packed out.  We all wore our Dion Snowshoes but could have probably done the hike in running shoes.  The early going was easy and we covered the first 2 miles in 45 minutes climbing 600’ to 2,520’.  At almost exactly 2 miles we left the trail and headed up the Fire Warden’s trail (which is an unmaintained route to the summit).  This trail was also in excellent shape as it gets some foot traffic.  The climbing increased in grade but never got too tough.  It was a great day to be out in the woods.  The 2.3 miles on the Fire Warden’s trail climbed 1,500’ and we were treated to some nice views of Mt Washington (through the trees).  We hit the top in just under 2 hours.
A quick 20 minutes on top featured celebratory birthday shots and some pictures.  There isn’t much of a view, but that is never a deal breaker for me.  We saw the footings for the old fire tower and climbed the huge cairn on the summit.  The trot back down was uneventful, just a lot of chatter and laughs.  My ankles were feeling the nearly 4 hours in snowshoes when we finished (3:50 round trip including the time on top).  I passed on the post-hike cake as I’d soon be off running again.  It was great fun knocking another peak off my list.


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