Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks South Hale, Mt. Hale, NH
Trails: Zealand Road, Hale Brook Trail, Lend-A-Hand Trail, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, December 4, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: 1 other car in the winter Zealand lot across 302, 4" of slush in the unplowed lot 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: open on HBT, although easily crossed on pillow-topped boulders 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: all good if my memory serves properly 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I wouldn't bring a dog on the bushwhack, especially in the deep snow 
Bugs: Saw a few lingering and flying around the snowflakes as they fell in the afternoon, they weren't out for blood 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing.  
Comments: Great day out in the wilderness. 4" of snow along the 2.5-mile Zealand Road walk, snowshoes went on at the HBT trailhead as amounts increased to 6".

6-10" of unconsolidated powder along Hale Brook Trail as I put first snowshoe tracks up and down this trail as well as Lend-A-Hand down to ~3,400', to a point where I left the trail corridor and struck a bearing for the eastern shoulder of South Hale. A few knee deep powder drifts. 3 downed trees surrounded by young fir greeted me into the early bushwhack. Beyond that mess the woods were oh-so-good. Mature conifers lined the odd-shaped summit plateau. Arcing around from E-W side of the summit area, working toward the ultimate high point. An absolute entanglement of young fir guarded the mountaintop of South Hale. Thankfully, while the boughs sloughed tons of snow, the bases around the trees were still solid earth and had not formed the "trapping" element of a spruce trap, yet.

Past the thick stuff, it wasn't too too difficult to find the PVC mounted upon the highest tree trunk. Signed in and quickly read a few entries from the 1991 register notebook.

On the return trek I got to experience the best aspect of winter bushwhacking, following one's own tracks back. The climb back up Hale for the second time was for the birds, but really did not want to slog 5mi from the Zealand trailhead.

The narrow boot track of HBT got under my skin pretty early on so I descended several feet off trail, in nice woods, where there were 8-10" snow depths as to not ruffle up any vegetation.

Great day in the woods, there is no doubt that snowshoe season is here. Now let's see how long it takes for someone to bare boot the snowshoe track.

Included is a link to a write-up recount of the day, color photography included. Enjoy!  
Name: Erik Hamilton 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-12-05 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2024, All Rights Reserved