Miles of smiles – Hale, Zealand, South and North Twin

Hikes, NH48 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A few photos from my weekday trip. This was my first trip up Fire Wardens Trail which is a very nice way up Mt Hale.
This loop was 23.3 miles (with road walks, as Haystack Road was still closed) and 6170 feet of total elevation. Felt great to get out for first spring trip.

This is what North Twin Trail head looks like when the road is still closed after Memorial Day
Finally hitting the trail after a ~2.5 mile road walk. Notices for the bridge closure at many of the trail heads. It’s not a concern on this trail/loop
A young woman up ahead. She was small but cruised right along
The painted trillium blooms are beautiful
North Twin Trail reached the firsts major crossing of Little River, staying left this ~6″ tree in the middle of the trail marks direction to continue toward Fire Wardens Trail
Another .1 mile beyond (staying left of) the first crossing, the start of Fire Wardens trail is up the embankment to the left. Someone has chopped a trail marker into one of the trees.
Remnants of the days when this was a maintained for the fire tower on Mt Hale
The amazing birch glades blanketed with hobblebush
For a trail I thought to be unmaintained , the maintenance was impeccable
Popping out to the massive, sprawling summit cairn of Mt Hale
From the summit cairn on Mt Hale, directly beyond the cement block, once used for the fire tower stairs, is the Fire Wardens trail entrance
Working my way toward Zealand Hut on Lend A Hand trail, there were a couple large blowdown sections. Trail maintainers must have been out before the Memorial Day weekend to get this nicely cleaned up
Lend A Hand trail is generally a nice trail. It can be a little wet in spots and there is a bit of rock hopping. There is about 1400 ft elevation change between the Hale summit and Zealand Hut
Atop part of Zealand falls
The Zealand Hut croo were cleaning and restocking the hut, likely anticipating an increasing number of AT thruhikers
After a push back up 1000 ft in just over a mile from the Zealand Hut, I’m directed to the Zeacliff views
Zeacliff lookout is one of the great gems on the edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, along the Twinway Trail
The junction of the Twinway Trail and the Zeacliff spur trail floats atop muck and pools
Bog boards keep your feet dry along the Twinway Trail
Death by grouse. Cruising along solo, inevitably will startle a grouse near the trail causing it to jump and fly away, inducing near heart attack condition
The classic Zealand summit sign and my ugly mug
Nearly June and there was still some decaying monorail(snow)
Cresting over Mt Guyot named for geologist/geographer Arnold Guyot
The summit offers amazing views in the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
Weathered Twinway Trail sign on the exposed section just over Mt Guyot
The pre-green tunnel on the approach to South Twin Mountain
The amazing summit views from South Twin Mountain. This summit offers 360 degree views.
The next and final stop, North Twin summit, a relatively easy shot between summits.
Glance from the South Twin summit toward the Presidential Range
One last look back to some hikers trading stories
The junction of North Twin Spur and the North Twin Trail, an outlook and the summit a few yards away.
From the North Twin outlook, the 700 ft rise of South Twin dwarfs the Galehead Hut(tiny white speck) and Galehead Mountain below.
I believe this is the North Twin summit cairn
One last lookout just below the North Twin summit before darting into the woods on the steep decent
The first(on descent) of many stream/river crossings on the North Twin trail
A few more blow downs to navigate over, under and around
Another, more substantial, river crossing. Little River makes itself known on the North Twin trail.
A trail runner, Ray, left the summit after me and cruised by on the descent. He was resting on a rock when I caught up to him. He would zoom past again after the crossing
Each crossing closer to the trail head becoming a bit more difficult to find safe rock hopping across
This little guy jumped out from under leaves just off trail
This is the first/last crossing(closest to trail head) and was the more severe of the bunch. I gave up trying to find a rock hop path and waded through in my trail runners, knowing I only had ~3 miles till the car. It didn’t even read my knees at the deepest
Back at the North Twin Trail head kiosk
On the road walk out, I was swarmed by flies. They weren’t biting, but kept seeking entrance to my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Very annoying. I ran for a bit, but was too hot and tired so this is how I addressed them