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Thread: Greenleaf to Zealand

  1. #1
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    Default Greenleaf to Zealand

    Hello,

    I will be hiking with my nine year old son & friends. He made the climb to Lake of the clouds from the Highland center last August. If we take the 2.7 mile trek to Greenleaf on Thursday 8/21 to Galehead 8/22 to Zealand 8/23 ending at the Highland Center 8/24 over a 4 day period will he make it? We will be meeting his cousin Jake at Greenleaf (works the hut) & this is why we are adding an additional day. Also, is the total distance around 21 miles?

    Best Regards,
    Anthony

  2. #2
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    We just did this hike this week (except that we went up Falling Waters and over Franconia Ridge to Greenleaf). Greenleaf to Galehead is about 8 miles, Galehead to Zealand is about 7 and Zealand to Highland is about 5-6 depending on your route so the total with the 3 miles from Old Bridle Path on day 1 is about 23-24. The Galehead to Zealand and Zealand to Highland routes are pretty reasonable and if your son had no trouble with Lakes then he should be able to handle them (although you need to remember that these are 4 back to back tiring days). You didn't say anything about the prior experience of his friends so you need to consider that as well. The second day from Greenleaf to Galehead is another story. We had 5 groups taking this route the day we did it and they all said it was the hardest hut hike that they had ever done. The White Mountain Guide notes that "there are numerous minor elevation gains and losses that make this route more difficult than the description would suggest". They are right here. The day starts with the one mile, 1000' climb up Laffayette which is really not too bad. It then stays above treeline on the Garfield ridge for a mile or so (beautiful stretch) before dropping into the woods. It continues down for a while and then makes a pretty long steep climb up Garfield. It then descends pretty steeply and gets down into what the guide descbibes as "a tangled col" - again accurate. Not much flat walking here. All rock-to-rock most of the day. At about 5-1/2 miles (2.2 to Galehead) it begins a series of ups and downs (of probably a few hundred feet each) that goes on for about 1.5 miles. This is pretty tiring at the end of the day. In addition much of the ups and downs are over largish rocks that make for big steps for 9 year olds. We wound up taking a little over 8 hours for the whole day (as opposed to the 5.5 book time which is crazy). We were the second group to the hut. The last group from Greenleaf took about 10 hours. For my own part I actually enjoyed this day a lot. It was hard work but not killer. The views were great. We had about 2 hours of light rain toward the end of the day that actually cooled us down and felt good - but a really rainy day would make for slippery footing on the many rocks and a very long day. In the end it's your call. Whatever you decide, good luck and good hiking.
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Greenleaf - 302 (Crawford Notch)

    If you take it nice and easy I don't see why a group of 9 year olds couldn't make this hike. You have a reward of great food and a warm bed to keep them going. The only real difficult part will be as Mark said between Greenleaf and Galehead. If you leave right after breakfast from Greenleaf you will have tons of time and can really take it easy and enjoy. I have done this hike that you are speaking of many times and have always greatly enjoyed it. One thing you might want to consider. The short trip to the bonds of 1.3 (2.6 round trip) is well worth it. If the kids have the energy left you might want to consider doing the Bonds also. Enjoy and have an awesome time. As I have said many times "There is no better place for kids to be than in the mountains".

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockin rex View Post
    If you take it nice and easy I don't see why a group of 9 year olds couldn't make this hike. You have a reward of great food and a warm bed to keep them going. The only real difficult part will be as Mark said between Greenleaf and Galehead. If you leave right after breakfast from Greenleaf you will have tons of time and can really take it easy and enjoy. I have done this hike that you are speaking of many times and have always greatly enjoyed it. One thing you might want to consider. The short trip to the bonds of 1.3 (2.6 round trip) is well worth it. If the kids have the energy left you might want to consider doing the Bonds also. Enjoy and have an awesome time. As I have said many times "There is no better place for kids to be than in the mountains".
    I always tend to err on the side of caution - particularly with kids. If they are all in good shape and have some hiking experience (like you describe for your son) I agree with Rex. No doubt that Madison (Rex's son) would kick butt on this hike! Just be sure to take the right precautions. Watch the weather carefully, keep the kids together, don't push them past their limits and have a plan if you really need to bail out part way. The mountains will always be there another day and Rex couldn't have said it batter - there's no better place for kids. If they have a good time on this hike they'll be hooked for life!
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

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    MTRUMAN,
    Thank you for the information & detail description. I think we will go strait to Galehead to Zealand to Highland. Where is the best place to start the hike?

  6. #6
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    If you want to go straight to Galehead the best option is the Gale River Trail which starts off of Rt 3 about 1/2 way between Rt. 93 and 302. Here's the trail description: http://hikenh.netfirms.com/TDGaleRv.htm

    It's about 4.5 miles and 2400' elevation gain which is a very reasonable alternative to the Garfield Ridge trail. The trailhead is also a stop for the hiker shuttle so it's an easy starting point.

    Hope you guys have a great hike and the kids have a wonderful experience.
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

  7. #7
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    Thank you again. This forum is great & everyone’s knowledge help make these hike enjoyable.
    Maybe, we will see you or you will hear us (we do practice leave no trace) on the trail 8/22 – 8/24.
    You guys are the best!

  8. #8
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    Thank you again. This forum is great & everyone’s knowledge help make these hikes enjoyable.
    Maybe, we will see you or you will hear us (we do practice leave no trace) on the trail 8/22 – 8/24.
    You guys are the best!

  9. #9
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    I remember making an epic summer crossing from Madison to Lakes when I was around 9. It rained most of the way, temp was probably in the low 50's. Great hypothermia weather. It took the full day. I was a little scared at that age. The mountains seemed so much bigger than they were.

    What's the plan if you run into the possibility of a full day of rain when you are out at Galehead? Its a long way from the road.

    I'm sure they can all do it. It will be a rewarding challenge, and if everyone is prepared for the weather you should be fine.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  10. #10
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    We hiked from Mizpah to Lakes in rain & snow (21 degrees) with all the kids. It was a little scary at times but the kids are hooked. So, we will have all the rain & winter gear for the trip. Last year all the kids had plenty of winter gear & the "tough" dads under packed. Actually, we had gear but removed it when the temperature hit 80 the day we started the hike. We all learned a valuable lesson & will all have winter gear this time. When we arrived at Lakes, it was like we hit the CT Lotto!

    Thanks again!

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