Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hiking To A Humid Hale

I postponed my hike on Saturday due to a morning of steady rain which we could use a lot more of, conditions are very dry. Today's forecast called for warm temps and humidity with possible scattered showers and thunderstorms. This would be a short hike today for two reasons, I got a late start and more importantly the warm humid temps. My hike today would take me up the Hale Brook Trail to the viewless summit of Mount Hale. It's either 4.4 miles or 4.6 miles round trip depending on which sign you believe.

On the drive to the trailhead I noticed the high summits were covered in clouds, not the best of conditions for hiking above treeline today. I arrived at the parking lot and thought it would be full but there was some spots available. The air was muggy but there was a breeze blowing so I wasted no time in getting on the trail. I passed the trailhead sign and noted the 2.2 miles to the summit.

Without the breeze the air was very humid. I'm not a fan of hot, humid weather and find it very difficult to deal with. I came to a small brook crossing and stopped long enough to douse my head in the cool water, it felt great and I continued my ascent. There were plenty of mushrooms along the way in varying shapes and colors. They provided some photo opportunities.

As I got closer to the top of Mount Hale the breeze picked up. Hikers coming down told me it felt great up there. When I reached the summit there was a good steady wind blowing and I took a nice break to cool down. I actually had the summit to myself for a few moments. There was a heavy cloud cover and I thought maybe a passing shower would help to cool things down a bit on my way back down but no such luck.

Hikers started arriving on the summit and I began my descent but not before noticing the trail sign that indicated 2.3 miles to Zealand Road. Somehow there was an extra 0.1 mile to go down the same trail that was 2.2 on the way up. While descending I saw a familiar face, it was New Hampshire State Senator Jeb Bradley currently serving as the Majority Leader of the New Hampshire Senate. We first met on the trail back in April while hiking to Mount Tecumseh, he is a very avid hiker and it was good to cross paths again.

As I was getting closer to the trailhead I heard a loud whoosh and then a very loud crash from what sounded like a very large tree. It was just off the trail but out of sight. It made me think of the philosophical phrase, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well, I was there and it made a very loud sound!

Although I am no fan of heat and humidity I felt a strong urge to get out on the trail today. Mount Hale was just what I was hoping for, a nice short hike to a 4,000 footer. There was lots of humidity and mushrooms!

Enjoy the pics!

Note the 2.2 miles on the trailhead sign

Lots of mushrooms along the trail

Indian pipe

Hale Brook

Hobblebush leaves turning red

Cooling off!

Blue-bead lily

A limited view from the trail

Zooming in on a distant peak

Tree with Old Man's Beard

Summit cairn

Only view from the summit cairn

Standing on the summit

Found these on the summit

Somehow there is an extra 0.1 mile on the way down

More 'shrooms

A rare view from the trail

Descending Hale Brook Trail

Hale Brook

Mushrooms growing in a mushroom

Hawk in a tree

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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