Mileage: 11.4 miles (RT)
Elevation gain: 2,400'ish
Trailhead: The Zealand parking area is at the end of the Zealand Road (gated in winter). The road starts at the Zealand Campground, on NH Rt 302, approx 5 miles east of the junction with Rt 3 in Twin Mountain. A WMNF parking pass is required ($3 day).
Hiked with Rich today. We were looking for a long but moderate hike and hadn't been to Mt. Zealand in four years (see previous trip report).
It rained heavily the day before (ruining many Fourth of July picnics) and we expected the hike to be wetter than it was.
|Trail is very mellow (flat) until just before Zealand Hut.|
|View from the bridges|
The boardwalk by the pond has been extended since we last visited. Most of the water crossings have bridges on them. We were only concerned about one: the crossing just above Zealand Hut.
|New signs. Probably auctioned the old ones.|
|One of the many busy falls on this hike.|
|Zealand Falls Hut.|
|Bunk rooms have been remodeled. Hut is open year-round.|
|More falls by the hut (we don't cross this).|
We stopped at the hut to ask about the water crossing and the answer wasn't good but when we got there we found people crossing on a log (sketchy at best). I made it over with help; Rich put on water shoes and braved the rushing water to cross (he said he had really good footing and it wasn't bad at all and frankly crossing was no big deal).
|This water crossing is tricky in high water.|
The trail ascends moderately for what seems like a very long time, and a few trail junctions later we reached some steeps, which we welcomed (we were getting bored!).
|Ladder up a steep spot. No scrambling really, just steep slab.|
It levels out and soon we came to the junction of Twinway and Zeacliff trail (we didn't go down to Zeacliff - we were running late). This area has nice views from a trail of rock slabs and bog bridges. We rolled up to about 4,000' and then down and then up before finally arriving at the turn-off to the summit (sign is a little worn).
|It seemed to take forever to get to this sign!|
Got to the summit around 3, fed the very fat gray jays and headed back.
|Summit apple (gray jays don't beg for fruit apparently).|
We were able to rock hop that snarky water crossing on the way back; the water had subsided.
|View from hut.|
Back at the hut we took a break before moseying down to the car and a draft beer at Woodstock Inn Brewery.