Zealand Mountain

Date of Hike: 1/28/12

Route 302 / Zealand Road: 6.1 miles
Zealand Trail / Twinway / Zealand Spur Trail: 6.4 miles
Route 302 / Zealand Road: 6.1 miles
Total Miles: 18.6 (2,850 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- Saturday's forecast was for high winds above treeline so I thought it would be fun to go for a long road walk along Zealand Road on my way to Zealand Mountain.  Unfortunately the out-of-whack winter weather made for some exhausting snow conditions.
- Zealand Road had a single snowmobile track all the way to the end of the paved section, then there was an old ski track, and two bare boot tracks that were sinking into the newer snow.  I put on my snowshoes and plodded my way past the Hale Brook Trail on my way to Zealand Trail and over to Zealand Falls Hut which took up more energy than I was expecting with some crusty snow and powder underneath.
- I took a quick break in the hut before I followed a broken out track to the Zeacliff Outlook on the Twinway were I ran into a group of five guys who had stayed at the hut the night before and were trying to make it to Guyot before coming back down.
- Once past them it was time to break 1.6 miles to the summit of Zealand.  The snow was a real pain to deal with.  The top inch to two inches was a crusted over, beneath that was powder, sometimes a couple of inches, sometimes a half foot, other times a foot and every so often I'd punch through to my knees.  It was exhausting and I re-aggravated a muscle strain in my leg from two weeks ago.  Still it was a lot of fun breaking trail and the clouds had lifted making for some awesome views.
- The descent was slow going as well, I expected to pick up lost time after I ran into the group of five again on my way down but the trail was still choppy and I now had a "hitch in my giddy up"
- I took a break at the Zeacliff Outlook on the Twinway to take in the views and felt better on my way to the hut.
- From the hut to Zealand Road I passed by about two dozen hikers heading in to spend the night at the hut.  It was a boring hike back to the road but not as boring and excruciating as what was to come.
- I was hoping to see snowmobile tracks on the road so I could ditch the snowshoes but there were none and the snow on the road was in worse shape than in the morning.  Conditions were a mix between ski tracks and bare boot tracks which chewed up the snow, no solid snowshoe track so each step was awkward and the pain in my leg became really annoying, so much so that every couple of minutes I would just sit in the snow for a break.
- When I reached the Hale Brook Trail a big group of ten had just finished hiking Mount Hale and were heading out, they seemed about as thrilled as me to have the road walk ahead of them, one of them was cursing the road.  Most of the group were pulling sleds with their gear on them, I wondered if they had originally planned to head to Zealand Falls Hut after their Hale hike and just said the hell with it.
- I caught a second wind and speeded ahead of them until I almost broke down on the side of the road, now both legs were in pain so I stopped to refuel again and take a break and gather myself.
- Finally I was able to take off my snowshoes when I reached the snowmobile tracks where the paved section comes in, the conditions were still subpar but I couldn't hike any longer with the snowshoes on.  I put on my microspikes, picked up the pace and went by the sled cavalry again and limped my way to Route 302 and back to the car.
- It was one hell of a hike, I really beat the crap out of myself and enjoyed the 9.5 hours on the trails!

Pictures: Click here for all Pictures

 Zealand Falls Hut
 Unbroken Twinway
 Blue sky and high clouds over Zealand Moutain
 Presidential Range
Carrigain Notch and Mountain Range


  1. Chris, I left several comments on your Facebook album for this hike. This was an impressive winter hike, and your photos from this trek are simply beyond awesome!!


  2. Quite the killer hike to bag "little ol' Zealand" but you sure got rewarded with some amazing views along the way. Hard to beat the view from Zeacliff on any day! Great that you could still say tat you enjoyed the day when you were done.


  3. Amazing report , your twin way pics are some of my favorite white mountains pics! How was the ascent after the hut? It must have been pretty epic considering the snow and the steepness. I hope you rewarded yourself with a hearty meal and a beer after knocking out this hike!

  4. From the hut to the Zeacliff Outlook on the Twinway wasn't bad because there was a group of five guys breaking hte trail out. From there it sucked up a lot of energy but luckily other than the one steep section it's not to bad and with the lack of big snow accumulations this year all the blazes were atill visible, when the snow passes those blazes it becomes a maze, I got lost once for a little bit after a snowstorm trai finding in May of all months!

    1. Gorgeous photos! We broke trail over on the Tri.'s and encountered the same sort of conditions, quite a bit of work for sure.