For my son’s 9th birthday we spent the weekend in North Conway, New Hampshire at the Red Jacket Resort. The resort had an indoor water park with water slides and a wave pool that the boys could play in all day. Early Sunday morning I got up to make the short drive to Mount Chocorua to hike it for sunrise.
Mount Chocorua, one of the more difficult peaks in the White Mountains for me to pronounce, was named after a Sokosis Chief. Legend had it that the mountain’s namesake leaped from the summit to his death while cursing the surrounding land rather than being killed by the white man who was pursuing him. It is that beautifully rocky, shark-fin peak you see peaking between trees when driving from Maine toward the Kancamagus Highway.
A couple of friends and I took a day off work just before Thanksgiving to do a loop of two New England 4000 Footers in New Hampshire. The mountains of Hale and Zealand can be accessed by trailheads off Zealand Road, which is found just north of Crawford Notch. Two days prior I hiked Mount Waumbek and afterward drove up Zealand Road to confirm it was still open. There is a road status page online, but I’ve been burned by out of date government pages before.
We drove up early Tuesday morning, found the road still open and arrived at the Hale Brook Trail parking at 7:45 am. The weather was cold and cloudy and it was spitting snow. The Hale Brook Trail was a consistent, moderately steep hike up to the summit of Mount Hale, though it switchbacked through the steeper grade to alleviate the climb.