long (but not long enough) four-day 4th of July weekend seemed
like a perfect time to hit the trail. And by staying away from
popular family huts such as
Lonesome Lake where had we joined screaming hordes of young
kids in 1998, we hoped to beat the worst of the crowds. Our plan
was simple - drive to the Willey House site and drop off my bicycle,
then drive to the Zealand Trailhead to start our hike. We'd set
up camp the first night in the woods near Zealand Hut, then backpack
to Ethan Pond Campsite for a second night. Finally, on the third
day, we planned to hike down the Ethan Pond and Kedron Flume Trails
to my bike and I'd ride back to get the car.
weather forecast looked good when we started down the Zealand
Trail on Thursday. It was a hot, but it was dry, and it was supposed
to cool off somewhat. I was carrying most of the heavy stuff in
my backpack, as Toi's pack was smaller, and Holly's was an old
worn-out Academy Broadway external frame model that was never
particularly strong, even when new. In fact, not far down the
trail, her waist belt broke and she ended up carrying it the rest
of the trip by just the shoulder straps.
Zealand Trail starts out a bit rocky, but smoothes out, and is
easy walking all the way to the shores of Zealand Pond. Since
it was hot and we were in no hurry, we stopped for a couple of
rests along the way. At one of these stops, Holly took out her
harmonica to play a quick rendition of Shenandoah.
Toi, and Muffin at the Zealand Trailhead. With my bicycle safely
locked up at the Willey House site, we planned to walk the Zealand
and Ethan Pond Trails to Crawford Notch, where I would then ride
back to get our car at Zealand.