Hiking is an inherently dangerous activity.
Information provided on this site may be inaccurate, may contain errors, and is not intended to be taken as advice, nor as recommendation for any particular activity.
Readers of this site assume all responsibility for any activities or consequences of any nature whatsoever relating to the use or misuse of any information included herein.


Not a big fan of getting up early, but I wanted to get to Zealand Pond in time to catch some early morning light. I'd heard colors were at peak there, as usual ahead of the rest of the state. So, despite still being a bit achy from mixing, pouring and setting concrete all day Saturday, and then going for a short hike Sunday, I managed to rouse myself when it was still dark Monday morning. Off I went.

Skip to pictures


Was unsurprised to see cars parked far down the trail. Busy weekend at a popular site; but most of the visitors were long gone; only stragglers' cars remaining, the main lot almost empty. except for  a few forgotten odds and ends.




Into the woods.



One drawback of this first-on-the-trail-in-the-morning business - spider silk.  I wound up carrying one of my hiking poles in front of me as though I were bearing the colors in a parade. Every time I broke a beam of sunlight streamers of silk gleamed from my pole. Better than having it stuck on my face!

At the big bridge I noticed something sort of white out in the bog. Closer examination showed it to be a nice spider orb.Further observation showed the bog speckled with orbs. Interesting; never seen so many orbs!



Reached the junction with Ethan Pond Trail, headed down that way. Been a while since I've walked there; forgot how much woods have to be traversed before reaching the open.



Spent some time looking at the notch and taking some pics, then decided to move on. At this point decided to try the Zeacliff Trail. I'd been hearing various things about it, and was curious. Also wasnt thrilled with the idea of going back via the Ethan Pond Trail (boring).

Zeacliff trail was definitely not boring!  First, a steep descent over lots of broken rock ( probably mostly from the slides off Mt Whitewall, moved and added to in bygone years by the logging railroad); then a deceptive but brief flat space, then a steep climb up the valley wall. This trail was cut by people who seem to have never heard of the word 'switchback'. Pretty much straight up the valley wall.  But the footing is good. You just have to pay attention and not lean backwards ;)



The trail eventually flattens as it reaches the ridge line, then continues more gradually. Then it skirts the southern side of Zeacliff and reaches a short climb over ledge. This is a clamber over a section of ledge with a 2" wide lip high enough for a foothold. No cell service in case of accident; 6' fall onto narrow trail if case of slip; fall off trail into steep dropoff full of brush ... The more I thought about it the more psyched out I was getting ... not good. I finally decided I'd better just do it before I lost my nerve... fortunately, the shelf is low enough to take off your pack and put it up above you, so that made it a little easier. So up I went, and was safe enough. No desire ever to repeat this trail, though, in either direction.

The rest of the trail was pretty straightforward, shortly breaking onto the Twinway.
I really like the almost-open walk to Zeacliff.



Zeacliff was, of course, spectacular. There were a number of people there, and my timing was good - some folk who were sort of sprawled on the prominent part of the outlook were about to leave; after they were gone I was pretty much alone on the cliff, which I enjoyed for a while before heading down toward the hut.

I was very happy to find that there were still some cookies despite my getting to the hut kind of late!!  Next to being able to fill up on water, snacks make hikes near huts really special :)

So a snack and on my way, finished up with some waterfall shots and out to trailhead and home.

Overall, it was a very good day. Still, I was a little disappointed; this was primarily a foliage walk for me, and I think the colors in Zealand Notch are gone by. Quite a few trees were bare and the brilliant reds & oranges I'd hoped for were largely absent.  But after a number of injuries and ailments over the summer, I was very pleased finally to have explored the Zeacliff trail and gotten in a decently  long walk.

And ...the turn is just starting outside the notch, so I'll get more chances at some good color. Maybe even a chance at Zealand again next year!  :)

All pages on this site are copyright 2023, Adaptive Technology LLC.   All rights reserved.

This site may not be displayed within the url of any other site, nor within any container of another site.