Prospective loop

As I’ve written before, the trails in the White Mountains, where I do most of my walking, are mostly below treeline. They are also almost always clearly marked by blazes on trees or rocks. Route-finding is seldom a problem.

I’m planning a walk in three weeks or so, and I’m thinking of one that will incorporate a long-abandoned route off the top of Mt. Hale, a path known as the Firewardens Trail, that observers used decades ago to get to and from Hale’s long-gone firetower. The trail is unofficially maintained by backcountry skiers (there are some wonderful glades to play in), but gets a bit overgrown during the summer. I wouldn’t expect it to be a navigational challenge, even for me. Using it would make my two-day walk a loop and save me a dreary combo walk-hitchhike.

Much of this walk would actually be above treeline. The last mountain of the route, Hale itself, is 4,054 feet, and just pokes above the trees. I’d start with a stiff climb up North Twin (4,761), and from there would stay mostly above treeline as I wandered generally south to South Twin (4,902), along to Guyot (4,580), and onto the spectacular ridge that encompasses the Bonds: West Bond (4,540), Mt. Bond (4,698), and Bondcliff (4,265). I’d probably spend the night near Guyot Shelter, preferably in the beautifully-sited overflow campground above and behind the shelter proper. (There shouldn’t actually be an overflow…I’d be doing this mid-week.) On the second day, I’d retrace my steps to Guyot, then turn east along the Twinway, bypassing Zealand Mountain (4,260) and taking in more great views along Zeacliff until I dropped down toward Zealand Falls, connect to the Lend-a-Hand trail up Hale, and found the unofficial path back down to the trailhead. Totals: about 23 miles, ascent about 5,300 feet.

It ain’t the Challenge, but it’s great walking…and I’d take along a small flask of the Macallan for the memories.


Prospective loop — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: A day in the hills | Catswamp

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