One of my first ideas was to start on the Zealand Tr., to Lend-A-Hand, to Hale. Then down the fire-warden trail to N.Twin Trail. From there, over the Twins to Little Guyot and finally, back over Guyot, Zealand and out. This was looking to be in the 21 mile range and a bit much. What I decided on was something similar but with these changes. I spotted my car at the Zealand Lot and rode my bike the 1 mile down to the Hale Brook Trail and stashed it. I'd hike Hale via Hale Brook and the rest would be as described above. You might ask, why Hale at all. One, there was no other loop option with the other peaks without it. And I wanted to see the Fire-Warden Tr. in non-winter conditions. So there you have it.
So after my 1 mile (all down hill) bike ride, I set out on the Hale Brook Trail to Mt Hale at 8:00 AM.
Most people seem to hate this trail. This is my 5th time using it and I've never disliked it. Down low if you head off trail the cascades on Hale Brook are beautiful. No time for that today though. And higher up the woods are gorgeous.
It took me about an hour and 20 minutes to reach the summit. Where I took the obligatory arm extended with camera, shot.
I'd only been on the Fire-Warden Tr. once in winter and did not take it all the way to the summit. So I wasn't sure which of the herd paths form the summit was it. Naturally, I started out on the wrong one. But with some searching, fairly quickly acquired it.
Passed some old, what I assume were fuel barrels.
This is another one of those unofficial trials that seems in better condition than many official ones.
This is the only spot were it was a bit tough to see the trail. Love the glades in here.
I took me about an hour to reach the N. Twin Trail.
Then the crossing of the Little River, which was easily rock hopped.
Now for the worst part of the entire hike. The climb to North Twin on the N. Twin Tr. Have you ever seen those si-fi movies where the character is running but the destination just keeps getting further away? Well this trail does that for me. It just doesn't seem to quick. I do like the woods above 3000' though.
Finally, the east ledges.
Forging on to the summit and west outlook.
Now to heading for South Twin.
Have arrived. The Hales.
After about a 20 minute break, I headed off on the Twinway for Little Guyot.
More beautiful woods on this section of trail.
Came upon this female spruce grouse who wasn't too concerned about me.
More gorgeous trail.
About a tenth of a mile before the Twinway exits the woods, I came across this nice campsite. Which had a pretty good view.
Now for spot where the Twinway exits the woods. Little or South Guyot. Again, I don't know if the bump has a name but either of those 2 seem to work.
Pano from the trail.
Once on Little Guyot, I saw it was covered in alpine flowers. Mountain Sandwort I believe is what was most abundant.
There was also a bit of Arinca.
Franconia Ridge over a blanket of Mountain Sandwort.
This is very high on my list of favorite spots in the Whites.
Time to head off for Guyot and beyond.
The massive slides on SW Twin.
Still a long way to go.
Spruce grouse hen #2. From my experience the females usually bolt but today they didn't seem to want to move at all.
Climbing to Zealand.
And spruce grouse #3. I believe this is a young male. If I was playing survivor man, I'd be stuffed. 8)
Yea or Nay.
Oh, why the hell not. :)
Moving along, Zeacliff Pond from just off trail.
Junction of the Twinway and Zeacliff Spur.
The magnificent views from Zeacliff.
Moving along quickly now. The top of Zealand Falls.
View from the porch of Zealand Hut.
Hopefully, I've got 2.5 miles left in my legs. :(
Some views over the beaver ponds on the Zealand Trail.
The now, straight bridge over the wetland.
Roughly 17.8 miles in 10.5 hours. Elevation gain wasn't too bad, about 6400'.
I really enjoyed this loop.