Date of Hike: 10/6/18
Zealand Trail: 2.4 miles / Twinway 4.1 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 0.8 miles / West Bond Spur 1.0 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 4.7 miles / Bushwhack: 0.9 miles / Abandoned Wilderness Trail: 0.7 miles / Wilderness Trail 0.9 miles / Thoreau Falls Trail: 5.1 miles / Ethan Pond Trail: 2.1 miles / Zealand Trail 2.4 miles
Total Miles: 25.1 miles (5,517 feet elevation gained)
Trip Report:
– Peak foliage is arriving in the White Mountains. I took advantage of the nice weather and headed out for a big loop up high and down low starting and ending in Zealand Valley. The colors were very good, still some green in sections but peak should be here this week through next weekend. Hopefully I can get in a few more big hikes / runs this month before the days get shorter.
– Highlights from this hike; I got to see the clouds come rolling in over the Pemi Wilderness, traveled the Black Brook and found remnants of the original Bondcliff Trail, hooked onto an abandoned section of the Wilderness Trail while crossing at the site of the old East Branch Pemi River suspension bridge, traveled the WWII era section of the Thoreau Falls trail along the North Fork rail grade, checked out New Camp 22 relics, and visited the Miller – Quinn plane crash memorial.
Early morning on the approach to Zealand Pond
View into Zealand Valley from Zealand Falls Hut
Pano of Zealand Valley over to Carrigain Notch
Whitewall Mountain, this makes up the northern border of Zealand Notch, with Zeacliff making up the southern border
Looking over to Carrigain and the Hancocks
Zealand Notch
Looking down into the North Fork, I'll be coming through here later in the afternoon
View from Guyot
Clouds overtaking the Franconia Ridge
Owl's Head and Franconia Ridge
Owl's Head and Franconia Brook Valley
West Bond, Owl's Head, and Franconia Ridge
Slides of Redrock Ravine
Pemigewasset Wilderness
Lincoln, Lafayette, and Garfield
Hellgate Ravine and Bondcliff
Hellgate Ravine
Black Brook (left). Old section of the lower Bondcliff Trail (right), it used to cross the brook several times before being re-routed decades ago. Some parts are easy to follow but are a muddy boot sucking mess, other spots have been washed away from years of storms. It was easier to just rock hop the brook
Trestle 16, half of it finally fell last year during the October 30th storm. It had been standing for around 100 years
View of the Trestle from above the Black Brook
Looking down at the trestle
Ground view of what is left of Trestle 16. This should stand for many more years as the brook doesn't flow directly under this spot.
Traveling the abandoned section of the Wilderness Trail, still in good shape (left). East Branch Pemi crossing where Trestle 17 used to be and later the suspension bridge was located.
Easy rock hop across the river today.
Thoreau Falls Bridge, not in service anymore
Thoreau Falls Bridge
Looks just like it did in May, the bridge is being dismantled, looks like they're taking their time removing it. Glad I got to see it one more time.
Camp 22 relics
Heading off trail and hooking onto an old RR grade just south of New Camp 22
New Camp 22 relics
New Camp 22 clearing to the left, RR grade to the right
Last year's storm washed away several items but it also uncovered some new items to look at. I hadn't seen the wheel before, which was neat to study! I remember seeing the bottles and they still smell like medicinal alcohol or something like that.
I first stumbled upon this bottle three years ago, it was not broken then but has since cracked and broke in three parts.
Plane crash memorial site. Here are two articles if you're interested in learning more about the tragic story. For an article with some stunning photos (click here). For an in depth article about before / during / after (click here)
Small clearing where the memorial is
Back on trail, colors changing fast along the North Fork
Stunning colors along the banks of the North Fork
Vivid yellow colors near a semi clearing along the Thoreau Falls Trail. I first thought this was Camp 23 but never found any relics back in 2009. Then I found Camp 23 just across the brook where jumping brook is located when I first went off trail along the North Fork in 2015
Thoreau Falls
Walking back through Zealand Notch