August 8, 2011

Mount Hale and Zipline Tour

hale1This past weekend Katy and I took a mini vacation ... to the White Mountains in New Hampshire ... again. If you've been keeping up with this blog you will notice that this has been a frequent destination of ours this summer. Before the summer, when we had only summited 10 of the 48 4000 footers in New Hampshire, Katy set a goal for us. She decided that we should get halfway there, to 24 mountains in total, before she returns to law school in late August and inevitably has significantly fewer free weekends. I wasn't sure if we'd find the time to do it, but with this past weekend coming up, we found ourselves just one peak away, at 23 mountains total. Rather than doing a single drive up, hike, drive back day trip, we decided to make a little longer stay of it this time, and celebrate the halfway point in style.

hale2On Saturday morning we woke up early, packed up our hiking gear and an overnight bag, and headed up towards the White Mountains. We chose Mount Hale for this hike for a couple reasons. One is that it's nice and easy, a short 4.4 mile round trip hike that will give us plenty of time to enjoy the rest of our weekend doing other things. Second, it's conveniently located only a few minutes drive from the Mount Washington Hotel, a place that Katy has always wanted to stay and what better time to stay then now? We arrived at the trailhead just after 10AM with warm temperatures and surprisingly partly sunny skies. The forecast had been calling for a chance of showers all week so I had anticipated we might be in for a wet hike, but it turned out to be dry the whole way. The hike was short and straightforward, but pretty steep and steady nonetheless. We arrived at the summit in just over an hour. There's not much to see on the top of Mount Hale as the open summit area is completely surrounded by relatively tall trees. We ate a snack, snapped some pictures and spoke with two other peakbagging couples for a while at the peak before heading back down. The descent was also quite simple, and we were back at the car in the early afternoon and headed over to check into the hotel.

hale3The Mount Washington Hotel is a beautiful place, and the weather actually improved and cleared out some more in time for us to explore the grounds, hang out by the pool, and then have dinner outside with views of the Presidentials. It was a short trip, but it really was nice to have a relaxing afternoon at a grandiose place such as this. It briefly brought me back to a little taste of our fantastic two weeks in Hawaii last year for our honeymoon. On Sunday morning it was foggy and rainy, but we continued our adventure seeking, going on a three hour zipline tour at the Bretton Woods ski area across the street. I had never done ziplining before, but it was a really neat experience. The course at this location had over a mile of ziplines in nine zips total with some over 150 feet off the ground. Cool!

hale4Our recent adventure in the White Mountains barely lasted 36 hours but it felt like a vacation of much greater length. Sometimes just a taste of the perfect combination of fun and relaxation can go a long way.

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