Hiked South Hale on 11/23/2016. It was a cloudy day and looked like it might snow but it never did, temperature was 25 when I started. The bushwhack portion of the hike is only about a half mile. I hiked in 2.5 miles on the Zealand trail to the Zealand Falls Hut run by the AMC which is open on a caretaker basis this time of year. That means you have to bring your own sleeping bag and food but can use the kitchen and all the utensils and dishes. There is a wood stove but it doesn’t get started until the sun goes down. The bunkrooms are not heated and can be pretty cold and the bathrooms are also not heated.
The Zealand trail follows the bed of an old logging railroad for most of its route and goes past a string of beaver ponds. The beavers on occasion have flooded the trail.
After reaching the hut I hiked about a mile on the Lend-a-Hand trail to reach the start of the bushwhack. The trail has a couple of wet sections and since it wasn’t completely frozen over it was difficult to find my way through without getting wet. The start of the bushwhack is in an open area that is also swampy but I made it through without going over the tops of my boots.
I made my way up to the summit ridge and found the first high point which isn’t the true summit. I walked along the summit ridge until I got near what I thought was the true summit. I wandered around and walked within 15 feet of the summit several times before I spotted the canister. I ate my PBJ there even though it was cold and windy, it was 12 noon and time to eat.
I then followed my tracks back to the trail and to the hut where I had some hot water to warm me up. There is a really good view from the front porch of the hut.
I stopped briefly on the way down to take a side trip to see Zealand Falls.
I walked the rest of the way back to the car, didn’t see any other hikers all day. Only 7 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.