There are occasions when all I want is a short and quick hike to a spot with a good view. To fulfill this yearning, I will sometimes do a trek to the massive ledges on East Hale (a.k.a. Mt. Hale-East Peak).
From my home in Bethlehem, I can be at the trailhead for the Hale Brook Trail in about 20 minutes. From there, it takes me about an hour and half to reach the ledges on East Hale by hiking about 0.6 mile up the Hale Brook Trail, and then heading off the south side of the trail and doing a steep 0.5 mile bushwhack through open woods.
The route that I briefly described above is my preferred route to the ledges on East Hale. I've bushwhacked there via other routes from different directions, but this is the route that works best for me, despite its steepness (about 1,670 ft. elevation gain).
Just as a side note, besides Mt. Hale's East Peak (3,460 ft), there is also South Peak (3,680 ft), and North Peak (3,740 ft). All three are reachable only by bushwhacking. From various ledges on each of those sub peaks, there are views to be had. And yet, Mt. Hale's main summit (4,054 ft) is nearly viewless due to dense tree growth that now blocks the excellent views which used to be there many years ago. However, unlike its three sub peaks, it is accessible by a maintained hiking trail.
With that bit of trivia having been stated, let's now return to the topic of this Blog, i.e. East Hale. Shown below are a series of photos which provide a sampling of some of the views from the ledges on the East Peak of Mt. Hale.
|Zealand Notch with Mt. Carrigain and neighboring peaks in the background|
|Zoomed photo of Whitewall Mtn. with Mt. Carrigain and neighboring peaks in background|
|Presidential Range, as viewed from East Hale|
|Mts. Tom, Field, Willey, as viewed from East Hale|
|Main summit of Mt. Hale, as viewed from East Hale ledges|
|Mt. Oscar Ledges (middle, right); Cherry Mtn (top, center); Pilot/Pliny Mtn Ranges (on distant horizon)|
[FOOTNOTE: Click HERE for my blog posting about a trek to Mt. Oscar Ledges]
If anyone is wondering what the actual summit of East Hale looks like, then please take a look at the next photo! The actual high point of this peak is a viewless, unimpressive spot that is surrounded by scrubby trees.
And speaking of trees, the next photo provides an example of the type of open-woods encountered while bushwhacking to the ledges on East Hale.
|Example open-woods encountered while bushwhacking to the ledges on East Hale|
And lastly, shown below is a Google Earth image which might help to give some perspective to the route used to reach East Hale, and where it is located in relation to Mt. Hale's main summit.
|Google Earth image (click to enlarge)|
To sum it up, I feel fortunate to have a variety of short hikes with great views like East Hale that are near to my home. And I'm grateful for having the good health to take advantage of these magnificent hiking opportunities.