Hale Brook Trail
4.4 miles round-trip
2,300 feet of elevation gain
I hiked my second mountain by myself today. The mountains I am doing solo are going to be the smaller ones at first, and I will work my way up to the longer ones. Mt. Hale, like Mt. Tecumseh, was a familiar mountain to me. I knew the Hale Brook Trail very well; I had been up Mt. Hale many times before.
Samantha Brady, a friend of ours, came and hiked up with Mom and Sage! They started a little while after I did--they were on the mountain at the same as me. I hiked alone and probably around half a mile ahead of them.
Mom had been having some problems with an area around her knee. She had a knee brace on and figured it would be all right to carefully hike. Just in case though, while we were all still at the car, Mom asked Samantha to go ahead with Sage and keep hiking if Mom needed to turn around because of her knee.
It started out relatively flat at first, but the path quickly steepened.
I saw a few dark-colored toads on the hike. They were all tiny and adorable! I tried to take a picture of one, but you may not be able to tell where it is in this image. The toad does a good job of blending in. I think it is around the upper left corner of the picture somewhere.
The trail is starting to slope upward more...
Water crossing! It was easy to get across.
I took a couple of small breaks to catch my breath and grab a bit of water.
I was happy to know I was about halfway up when I got to the second water crossing.
I had put my headband (purple) earlier to get the hair out of my face.
A lot of switchbacks!
All of a sudden, I stepped up and felt a sudden satisfying breeze rush through my hair and skin. It felt good, and it gave the impression of almost being at the summit. I wasn't quite there yet, but the feeling of being higher and the ability to see views were helpful just the same.
Even though I have done this trail a million times, there were still multiple spots on the trail where I thought the summit was around the corner. I was wrong most of the time, but then...
...there it was! It was almost like the trail sign and cairn were waiting for me and happy to see me--and the feeling was mutual.
My regular selfie on the summit...
When I was close to leaving, I saw a glimpse of brown hair as my younger sister, Sage, came up the trail. I asked, "Where are the others?" I soon saw Samantha come up as well, and I was informed that Mom had to turn back. Her knee had acted up and got rigid at the halfway point, so the other two continued up while Mom went down. I was a little worried, but it seemed like everything was under control.
Sage pointed to something in the distance. I love how her ponytail is flying in this picture--I captured an interesting moment.
I took one last look at the cairn, and then headed down as Samantha and Sage were chatting and having a snack.
Back by myself again, I quickly got submerged in deep thought. I was hiking alone though, and so I was naturally more aware of my surroundings. I saw these beautiful orange and green leaves.
I was going at a fast pace and feeling good.
Hiking alone provides great opportunities to take weird/interesting selfies.
Back at the trail sign!
I saw Mom in the car with Max. She said she was okay, but she didn't want to push her knee by hiking on it too much. Mom was surprised to see me--she said she expected me in another hour or so, because that is the time we usually on Hale take when hiking together. I ended up taking two hours to hike all of Mt. Hale total.
Max was, of course, confused. First I had left the group, then Samantha and Sage had left the group, and then Mom and he had started heading back down the mountain without finishing it. It probably hadn't made sense to him! He didn't seem to care, though, and was happy to see me.
It was an eventful day!