- Date: Sunday, July 25th, 2010
- Trail: Hale Brook Trail, 2.2 miles to summit
- Total hiking time: 6 hr 30 min
- Weather: Humid, warm, heavy overcast, unsettled; windy at summit
"Kevin even quipped that I was a hiking Shark... Quinn's guidance was inspired, and at our first short break, there were some jovial complaints about the speed of my pace..."
Read more about Randy's quick pace here.
We started from the trailhead shortly after our designated start time. The planned redistribution of group gear did not actually take place, since Randy, Tracy, and I (those carrying the group gear) didn't feel like unpacking our packs, and our packs were light anyway.
The first stretch of the Hale Brook Trail went by quickly. The footing was good - sandy ground and small scree punctuated by roots and large rocks. It took us straight up the fall line and was fairly steep right from the beginning. Randy and Quinn hiked very fast over this part, moving at least a mile over the first hour. (They actually had to wait for the rest of us sometimes, as we were winded!)
Forty-five minutes into the hike, we reached the first big water crossing. Quinn came off harness, and John led Randy rock-to-rock across Hale Brook. We resumed hiking quickly thereafter. The next segment of trail had somewhat rougher footing, with rock stairs and more roots, but it was still manageable at a good speed.
Then the trail got narrow, traversing across a steep hillside - there was a drop-off on one side, and a wall of earth on the other. The narrow trail presented problems for Randy and Quinn's side-by-side gait, especially since Quinn would shy away from the edge, and we nervously helped them negotiate parts of this trail by calling out the worst parts.
An hour and a half in, we crossed Hale Brook farther up the trail. This crossing was steeper and trickier than the first one, besides being slippery as heck; a misstep could have had serious consequences, so we took great care. Once again, John led Randy across, instructing him to put his feet into the stream itself (to avoid the slippery rocks). Quinn went across himself, and he nearly slipped down the stream on an old log. We calmed ourselves down and hiked up the switchbacks.
The steepest parts of this trail section were harder, but not really obstacles, for Randy and Quinn. We slowed down but we didn't have to stop very often (except to cool off and gather up). We found rock stairs, uneven small boulders, and a lot of water on the trail.
Earlier than we ever expected, we saw daylight through the trees, and we reached the summit! We entered the clearing where the fire tower used to be at 10:52, and we scrambled around to find the benchmark at 10:54. In the cooling breeze, we relaxed, ate lunch, and goofed off for an hour. There were no views to be had from that summit, and since it was so overcast and foggy anyway, we didn't go looking for them, either!
We started back down at 11:54. The descent was uneventful, although Randy and Quinn did have a little more trouble with the roots and rocks going down than going up. Before we reached the first stream crossing, Kevin realized that his dog Poppy needed to be done with the hike soon, and he went on ahead. The rest of us continued our descent in good spirits. We reached the trailhead at 3:26.
Pre-hike page:Mt. Hale Pre-hike Information
Blog posts about the hike:"An Accomplishment on All Fronts" by Randy
"Visions of Mt. Hale" by Randy
Blog posts from before the hike:"Eager for a Hale Storm" by Randy
"Looking to Hale: Moving Concerns" by Jenifer