Hale & Zealand (#28, #29)

Date of Hike: 12/23/10

Zealand Road: 2.6 miles
Hale Brook Trail: 2.2 miles
Lend-a-Hand Trail: 2.7 miles
Twinway/Zealand Spur: 6.1 miles
Zealand Trail: 2.5 miles
Zealand Road: 3.6 miles
Total Miles: 19.7 (4,350 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- With another day of snow showers and crummy views forecast I figured it would be a good idea to hike Mount Hale and Zealand Mountain. When I checked the trail conditions I was happy to see that the Hale Brook, Lend-a-Hand, and Twinway had been broken out the day before which would make for some fast hiking...or so I thought!
- Zealand Road winter lot 7:20am, Hale summit 10:15am, Zealand summit 1:50pm, finished 6pm. Temps in the mid teens to low twenty's no views.
- In the winter in order to get to some trails you have to hoof it in because the roads are closed making for some boring and hellish road walks and today I was lucky/unlucky enough to walk along the Zealand Road.
- The walk to the Hale Brook trailhead was uneventful and fast, I saw two snowmobilers but no one or nothing else.
- I arrived at the Hale Brook trailhead at 8:25am and that's when things got interesting. The trail which had been broken out just yesterday had fresh new fluffy snow eight inches to a foot deep for the first mile then over a foot for the last mile.
- Having to re-break the trail was alot of fun but very slow going, what usually takes me an hour to the summit took two and I finally started to wear down with a half mile to go and I began to swear up a storm as I felt like the trail was never going to end.
- Mount Hale summit was very windy so I took a picture, changed clothes and got the hell out of there to start the descent down the Lend-a-Hand Trail.
- The Lend-a-Hand trail had snow drifts up to two and a half feet in spots and since the trail has a gradual descent for the most part I was unable to snowshoe slide at a fast pace for most of the 2.7 miles to the Twinwway to make up for lost time from the hike up to Hale.
- After five miles of breaking trail I was pretty exhausted but there was no way in hell I'd want to come back here again so I continued on up to Zealand's summit.
- Luckily the trail was broken so I slogged it up the Twinway (where it became pretty friggan cold!) until I caught up with the couple who were breaking the trail (at the ladder steps). The lady was not enjoying this part at all but made it up above the steep sections.
- From here I went ahead of them and for the next mile to Zealand's summit I broke trail. It was pretty awful in places, over a foot in most but luckily the Twinway from here to the Zealand Summit Spur Trail has moderate grades.
- When I finally made it to Zealand's summit I was thrilled. It was my fifth time this year on the wooded-no views summit and I don't see any reason after today of ever visiting it again!
- Now it was time for the long 9.3 mile descent down the Twinway, Zealand Trail, and Zealand Road back to the car.
- The descent down the Twinway went fast, the descent down the Zealand Trail was very slow and longer and colder than usual.
- I made it back to the Zealand Trailhead just as it got dark, put on my headlamp and began the 3.6 miles roadwalk back to my car. It was awful, I tried to find the solidest snowmobile track so my snowshoes wouldn't sink at all but it didn't matter my body was beaten up and my pace was slow. Needless to say it sucked, big time!
- When I finally made it back to my car I got my ice axe out of the car and proceeded to dig the snow around my car out so I could beat feet. (When I arrived in the morning the lot hadn't been plowed, it was now and I was barricaded in by a plowman's snow wall).
- I had figured this hike would take me eight hours, nine at the most...it took eleven. It was a very long and exhausting day but well worth it!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

Hale Brook Tail (unbroken / broken)
 Lend-a-Hand Trail
 Twinway (A.T.)
 Zealand Spur Trail Junction
 Twinway (A.T)
 Hidden Bog Bridges on the Twinway


  1. Yeah, that was a trip! Thanks for the photos - it takes on a totally different look under snow cover. I was up there twice this summer, and I'm thinking I kinda don't want to go back, either, but my son is working on the 48's and I'll probably do a winter round too, eventually.

  2. Hi Summerset, glad you liked the pics!

    If it wasn't for Zealand Road being closed it would be a lot more fun of a hike. That road walk really gets tiring/frustrating at the end of a long day...in the dark!!!