After over 2 months of absence from the White Mountains and missing the entire foliage season, Scott and I finally were able to add another 4,000 footer to the list! Considered one of the easier 4,000 footer hikes it is still a rough one climbing 2,300 feet in 2.2 miles to a wooded summit!
We began our hike from the Zealand Road; Hale Brook trail head off of Rt. 302. Start time was about 9:30am. The weather was chilly and the parking lot had a dozen cars already in it most of which were out-of-state. There is very little warm up time on this climb! You get to the steep grades quick and there is little relief along the way. The trail is quite rough, loose footing, tree roots and is well worn to where it is no doubt a stream in wet conditions.
We soon began spotting traces of snow along the trail. A sign of what might be in store on the summit! At one point there is a nice view down to the brook where it carves a channel through the rock and the trail crosses the river at the top of this section. I carefully hiked down the banking for a closer look of this neat section of river before we continued.
After crossing the bridge the trail negotiates some long switch backs and the steepness continues along these. The snow became more prevalent and we were now carefully hiking on a half inch to an inch of snow. Some hikers were wearing micro-spikes to be on the safe side! We arrived at the white, wooded summit at approximately 12:00pm. Flakes of frozen snow dropping from the sky around the large cairn that sits atop this peak. There is also the remains of the anchoring from a former fire tower.
Temperatures were in the low 40’s and with the wind it felt very cold. We ate a quick lunch and in no time were shivering. After some photo’s we carefully began the trek back down. Number 44 of the 48 NH 4K completed! Although there was no view aside from some limited views through the leafless trees it was a nice hike. I would probably stay away from this one during the Spring run-off and I can see why people hike the Old Fire Warden path in the winter!