"And I would think that people would realize that rechargeable is out of the question when hiking."
It seems to me that depends on trip length. Perhaps if you are a through-hiker on one of the big three trails, but not for much else. I would suggest that few people take hikes longer than 10 day to 2 weeks, and the Zebralight is fine for that without any on-trail recharging.
Zebralight figures are for a 2000mAh Eneloop rechargeable NiMH battery. I use Imedion NiMH LSD cells because they are rated at 2400 mAh (an extra 20%). Let's look at how long 2 cells should last in an H52W:
*) Low (2.7y Lm) is plenty for in-camp use, cooking, tent light, trips to your cat hole, etc. It is rated at 4 days, which would be 115+ hours with the Imedions. Assuming you use the light 4 hrs per day, that is 28+ days -- way longer than most people's trips.
*) M2 (25 Lm) is adequate for trail hiking. It is rated for 12 hours, which would be 14+ hours with the Imedions. Unless you are deliberately night hiking, an hour a day should be plenty -- that means it should last at least 2 weeks on a single cell.
Bottom line: it seems to me that an H52W with two Imedion rechargeable AA cells (one in the light, and one spare) should be fine for trips of up to 2 weeks unless you plan to do a lot of night hiking. In that case you would need to take one more cell for each all-night hike you plan (M1, 50 Lm 9 hrs, or M2 25 Lm, 14+ hours).
Bottom line: all of your recharging would be done at home, before you leave on the trip. There would be no on-trail recharging for trips of up to 2 weeks.