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View Full Version : Zeacliff Trail Leads To All 10's On 10-10-10



mtruman
10-13-2010, 06:36 PM
Last October we managed to turn a rainy fall Saturday into a really nice day hiking through Zealand Valley to Thoreau Falls with great friends. There are probably no days that this isn't a beautiful place but fall is a particularly nice time. On that hike as we headed out Ethan Pond and past the Zeacliff trail junction I remarked that I'd really like to come back and do that trail someday. On the same weekend this year with a perfect sunny, clear bluebird day we got our chance! So on Sunday morning we headed up through Crawford Notch for day three of our amazing Columbus Day weekend trip.

After our meeting with the moose in Crawford Notch the morning before we had hoped we might meet another of the locals this morning. We pulled into the "scenic view" lot on 302 to check out the Mt Washington views and indeed met one of the locals, but not a moose. Jim Salge was also there capturing the beautiful morning light. For such a big expanse of mountains it certainly is a small world. We chatted with Jim for a few minutes and I grabbed a couple of shots before we headed off (which as I expected didn't capture the view anything like Jim's). Check out Jim's versions to see what the light was really like here: http://tinyurl.com/2cmkn9h and here: http://tinyurl.com/247fcje

Autumn and winter meet
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUJffSgk2I/AAAAAAAAbWE/6wFrdd45V1M/s640/IMG_0158.jpg

The hike out through the valley on the Zealand and Ethan Pond trails was beautiful.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUJooWSnaI/AAAAAAAAbWc/st3iVR5vnUk/s800/IMG_0167.jpg

Arriving at the Zeacliff Trail junction we got a look across the valley at our destination.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUJvk5mznI/AAAAAAAAbWw/iSsOs3oCWFo/s640/IMG_0173.jpg

The trail down into the valley is certainly steep and rocky but easy to negotiate.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUJ0xlmfxI/AAAAAAAAbW8/de0Jw2troWk/s640/IMG_0176.jpg

At the bottom of the valley we crossed Whitewall Brook and found ourselves in one of the most beautiful, secluded spots that we've been in the Whites.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUJ_tFGpWI/AAAAAAAAbXY/NArHFfomw1g/s640/IMG_0184.jpg

The trail up the other side was steep, rough and rocky as advertised. It was also great fun! Definitely better going up rather than down though. I feel bad for the folks that occasionally follow the Zeacliff trail signs from the Twinway thinking that it leads to Zeacliff and then finding themselves down here.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUKFqq2-6I/AAAAAAAAbXk/rtGwY08ilyE/s640/IMG_0188.jpg

The walk through the large white birch glade on the top of the ridge was beautiful

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUKKQQ28LI/AAAAAAAAbXs/QHWIvqgbkk4/s640/IMG_0191.jpg

There was a bit of fun ledge scrambling near the top (but nothing too tough).

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUKp0G2DGI/AAAAAAAAbYc/3OBVuSB9KLA/s640/IMG_0204.jpg

Reaching the top we decided to turn left on the Twinway and make our way over to Zeacliff Pond. We'd skipped this little detour last time we went by and it seemed like it was worth the extra mile this time. Was it ever! What a beautiful little hidden gem. The views of Carrigain over the pond are awesome. Perfect spot to sit in solitude and have our lunch.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLUK5angymI/AAAAAAAAbY4/ghSyDKF9gkk/s800/IMG_0211.jpg

Heading back up the Twinway it was a quick trip out to Zeacliff. The views along the way of the northern Presi's gave us a good taste of what was ahead. There were quite a few people hanging out on the cliff (as expected) but we got ourselves a nice secluded spot at the very end and settled down for a long time to soak in the amazing views.

Presi views from the Twinway
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULCVwNJVI/AAAAAAAAbZI/WwA9G66uvN0/s800/IMG_0217.jpg

The crowd on Zeacliff
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULIVmCD0I/AAAAAAAAbZY/CsLJXCTNaxI/s800/IMG_0222.jpg

Amazing Pemi vista
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULNAhZFbI/AAAAAAAAbZo/CVLm-HP2ol8/s800/IMG_0228.jpg

Looking like winter on high
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULRCyHRDI/AAAAAAAAbZ4/7QgU9ZUgdAs/s800/IMG_0233.jpg

Great place to hang out
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULVtccMXI/AAAAAAAAbaE/i5BX3LL0Vqc/s640/IMG_0240.jpg

But do you really need THIS close a look!?
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULa95Q88I/AAAAAAAAbaM/dAJX5YfZNUI/s800/IMG_0243.jpg

Nothing but smiles for a place like this
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULcKBVkzI/AAAAAAAAbaU/NTyDkVT_TU8/s800/IMG_0244.jpg

We grudgingly pried ourselves away from the views and headed down to the hut. Lots of day trippers and weekend overnighters hanging out on the porch. We spent a bit of time hanging out on the rocks at the brook and checking out the valley views from a new angle before heading down.

Nice fall views from the hut
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULnaHWZJI/AAAAAAAAbaw/E-1TGQ7NNP4/s800/IMG_0264.jpg

Whitewall Brook
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULpSNYXBI/AAAAAAAAba0/Mmbp1b_K6mQ/s800/IMG_0267.jpg

The hike down was nice and we shared the trail with another hiker from Boston who we'd run into several times on the way to the hut. Nice conversation made for a very enjoyable trip out. As we past the last of the beaver ponds the winds had died and left us with this beautiful reflection and great ways to reflect on a perfect day.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/TLULtSB2p9I/AAAAAAAAba8/yrt_W6OAiUE/s640/IMG_0271.jpg

Lots more pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/Zeacliff101010#

KSearl
10-14-2010, 05:14 AM
Great pictures Mark! Carrigain's profile over the pond is really neat. I always comment on the blue skies, because I have such a hard time capturing it with my camera most of the time...and all your pictures look great with colors of both the landscape and sky. Seems like you guys had a great weekend.

Karl

Jimmy Legs and Little d
10-14-2010, 10:18 AM
Mark,
Exploring new territory! What a great place to relax and hangout and soak up those fantastic views from the cliffs. Another hike to add to our list.

Donna:)

Anna LeBlanc
10-14-2010, 09:27 PM
Fantastic photos and a great Tr Mark.You guys sure had a great weekend of hiking.Thanks again.

____________
Anna

smithtim
10-14-2010, 09:56 PM
beautiful pics & thanks for taking the time to post/share


Looks like a little wintry up there on top! Now I am really really looking forward to my annual winter pilgrimage up there

Vox Sciurorum
10-16-2010, 11:04 AM
Nice pictures. I almost took that route the previous day but went to Franconia Notch instead (I visited Zeacliff last October). Is the trail easy to follow? It's in a wilderness area and I've heard some wilderness trails are tough to follow.

mtruman
10-16-2010, 09:01 PM
Nice pictures. I almost took that route the previous day but went to Franconia Notch instead (I visited Zeacliff last October). Is the trail easy to follow? It's in a wilderness area and I've heard some wilderness trails are tough to follow.

This trail was actually very easy to follow. Blazed well in the woods (even though a few of the blazed trees have blown over and leaving the blazes horizontal). The path up from the valley is basically a rock pile up the middle of a narrow ravine most of the way so not many ways to get off trail. You should definitely try it - great way up to a beautiful spot.

d.b.cooperisalive
10-17-2010, 06:36 AM
Terrific pics. Did you hike the full length of Ethan Pond Trail? I was curious how long it took to hike the full length of Ethan and if you think this would be a good snowshoe hike. My wife and I were going to hike that trail when we hiked to Arethusa Falls. Instead we decided to hike the Frankenstein Cliff loop.

mtruman
10-17-2010, 07:43 AM
Terrific pics. Did you hike the full length of Ethan Pond Trail? I was curious how long it took to hike the full length of Ethan and if you think this would be a good snowshoe hike. My wife and I were going to hike that trail when we hiked to Arethusa Falls. Instead we decided to hike the Frankenstein Cliff loop.

We only hiked the short section of Ethan Pond between the Zealand Trail (below the hut) and the intersection of the Zeacliff trail. In the past we've gone a couple of miles further (to Thoreau Falls) and all of that part of Ethan Pond would be wonderful for snowshoeing as would the Zealand trail. The problem of course is Zealand Rd is closed in winter and you have to add a long road walk. If you come in Ethan Pond from 302 there are some pretty steep sections and you're gaining 1500' of elevation before it levels out before Ethan Pond. The topo HERE (http://msrmaps.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=13&Z=19&X=192&Y=3059&W=2) gives and idea of the steepness. I'm sure that there are a number of others here that have done it in winter that can comment on how snowshoeing the section is.

KathyC
10-17-2010, 08:42 AM
Thank you Mark, I really enjoyed your TR and photos...:)