Today’s hike was another carpool challenge up Mt. Hale via the Hale Brook Trail. Zealand Road will probably be closing soon, so today was a good day to get one last quick hike up to Hale. The small amount of snow we got last night made the hike even more enticing. The trip also served another purpose: to test out some new gear and to get reacquainted with my winter boots.
My car was the lone car in the Hale Brook Trail parking area off Zealand Road, but I am usually at the trailheads pretty early when no one else is around. There was just a little bit of snow on the ground as I started up the trail, and just a few leaves clinging tenaciously to the trees. It was the perfect late fall scene.
As I ascended there was more snow and little ice except for near both stream crossings. On both sides of the two largest stream crossings, the trail had little snow, revealing icy mats of dead leaves. These parts were easily crossed with a good eye on the footing.
The snow cover got deeper (about 1″ -2″) as I continued upward through the switchback section, revealing a little taste of the winter wonderland we’ll see in a few months. Since the switchback section and the section afterwards were easier in terms of elevation gain, I quickly arrived at the last corridor to the summit, being able to see the sky in the open summit area beyond.
The summit area had enough snow to dust the giant cairn and cover some of the old firetower foundation, but not enough totally cover all the old concrete footings.
After a quick snack, it was time for the descent through the snow laden trees and back down to late fall. I saw no one on this quiet day, which was surprising, as I usually meet at least one person hiking up when I am hiking down. The hike today was enjoyable and quick, and I was waiting for the children when school was dismissed.