Mt. Hale via Fire Warden's Trail
Hiking/Walk DATE: 02/03/2018 - 02/03/2018
Trip/Event Location: Twin Mountain, NH
Meeting Time: 9:00 AM
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Hike up an abandoned trail through lovely birch glades to this 4,000 footer!
Take I-93 North and take exit for Route 3 [Twin Mountain]. As you enter Twin Mountain, take a right onto Little River Road [same road as Seven Dwarfs Motel] and drive/park to the very end. We'll be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
Mount Hale 4054'
Herd Path/North Twin Trail/Firewardens Trail
9 Miles 2324" Elevation gain
Having hiked this abandoned trail a few years ago, I decided it was high time to return. I must admit it was a great alternative to the boring road-walk along Zealand Road that leads to the Hale Brook Trail in winter. We would approach the mountain along some very popular bushwhacks. Neither of these "whacks" comes close to being a whack anymore, and seem to be accepted trails.
We parked near the end Little River Road. There were four cars parked when we finished. Do not park at end of road in turnaround and make sure not to wear MicroSpikes/Snowshoes when crossing the bridge. There are No Trespassing signs on both sides of the road but the bridge itself is not posted. After crossing the bridge, there is a sign with an arrow pointed left that says TRAIL which is the traditional approach. That said, within 100 feet a sign on a tree says PRIVATE PROPERTY. In our opinion, the owner is OK with access but does not want people to meander up the driveway or around the property.
We took the bridge to cross Little River, took the left on the other side and followed the east bank of the river until we hit Haystack Road. The track had three inches of new snow, and as we rose through the forest the depth increased to six inches. We wore snowshoes for the entire hike. We soon found ourselves at the well-advertised notched tree, climbed up the bank and were immediately struck at how obvious the trail was once we stepped onto it. There were not any tracks leading up to the Twins.
As we rose up along the trail corridor; it was always obvious. After a mile or so on the Firewardens Trail we entered what may be the most beautiful birch glades we have ever seen, rivaling those on the Engine Hill bushwhack! As we passed through the beautiful, open woods we were again struck, this time by the abrupt turnover from open birch glades to thick spruce forest. Up here the snow had stuck to the trees and made for some stellar winter scenery!
Further up the mountain we reached a ridge that would lead us gently up to the summit. Here the conifers were draped in flowing beard lichen sporting the frozen look of a man's beard when hiking in mid-winter. We soon approached the sunny summit across the open expanse. We took some shots standing on the large summit cairn followed by a quick lunch. It was 13 degrees with a wind chill of about 3 degrees. We soon began our descent. The trip down was quick and easy, with lots of sunny skies. We helped Dave get his car out of our driveway when we returned back to the house [he got stuck earlier in the morning]. The rest of us hung out by the roaring fireplace with après hike appetizers drinking beer/wine along with pleasant conversation. We then enjoyed a delicious homemade chicken/bacon/ranch pizza created by Jon.
As cold as it was, what a great hike! Sunny blue skies, beautiful birch glades, snow covered spruce forest, and frozen river. Truly a winter wonderland. Thanks again mountain Gods!
Trip Report by Mike Boisvert
Photos by Jon Normand
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Robert.L Feb 4, 2018 at 5:36 PM
What a brilliant bright blue and sunny day. I'm so glad I got to know this informal trail - super nice way to reach this summit. It was great to catch up with Dave, Jon and Mike! Sweet!!
dpbyrnes Feb 4, 2018 at 2:02 PM
as cold as it was, What a great hike! sunny, blue skies, fluffy clouds, show tipped evergreens, half frozen river, truly a winter wonderland. Thanks guys!!