I was invited to go along on Bill Cronin’s grid finish hike and I was happy to tag along. The grid is quite an accomplishment (grid = hiking all the 48 four thousand footers in each month of the year), owing to the amount of hiking that needs to be done and in some times in not ideal conditions, so this was a very important hike.
I was fortunate to get the day off from driving the carpool, by some creative switching, so I was on my way to the end of Little River Road, to start the trip to Mt. Hale via the abandoned Firewarden’s Trail. Three season access is from the North Twin Trail, which is at the end of Haystack Road; in winter there is a shortcut from Little River Road to avoid the long trek up the seasonally closed Haystack Road to the North Twin Trail. It was a cold morning, and likely wouldn’t get too much warmer. My car thought it was -7 at the trailhead. I’ll go with that. At those temps (or lack of temps), it doesn’t really matter anymore.
Once everyone arrived, Schorman and LadyDi, M. Lynch, HikerEd, Per, and John G. plus the guest of honor, Bill Cronin, we quickly set off for Haystack Rd. It was good to get moving to keep warm! This hike isn’t a hard one, and we quickly made it to the North Twin Trail and then to our turn off for Mt. Hale. The latest addition of snow wasn’t too deep, and the trail-breaking wonder, M.Lynch continued to lead the group to the summit.
We reached the summit after traveling through beautiful birch glades and then spruce higher up. We went ahead of the grid finisher, made an arch with our poles for him to walk through. Once he was through and received his patch, a few pictures were taken and then all the cameras froze. With the announcement that it was 15 below zero without the windchill on the summit, we all took that as our cue to head quickly back down the trail and back to the cars!
Although it was a very cold trip, it was a lovely day with friends and nice to see a fellow hiker and friend finish a huge goal! Big congratulations to Bill Cronin!
A few more photos and quick write up, can be found here, in a post on the Views From the Top forum.