Friday, July 20, 2012

#18 & #19: Zealand(4260') and Hale(4050') July 19&20, 2012
Hut hike with my middle 12 year old grandson, Kris.
This was an overnight hut hike staying at  the AMC Zealand Falls Hut.  It was my first hut hike and also my first non-solo 4k hike anhd my 12 year old grandson's first real hike.
We first hiked to the Zealand Falls Hut (very easy leg with only a short steep section near the end).  Then to Zealand Cliffs (great views) and Mt Zealand (no views) then returning to the hut,  sleeping at the hut then doing Hale the second day.  Kris did real good except his boots were too small and his toes hurt, then he stubbed his toe coming down from Mt Zealand. I used my knife to cut the big toe area out of each boot.  He was much better after that.  We started at about 8 am.  Easy hike to the hut, we claimed two top bunks (4 hihgh) head to toe. We dropped enough gear and water at the hut so that only I had to carry a pack. Hike to Mt Zealand included a long break at Zealand Cliffs (only real spot for views on the hike). Kris was really amazed with the views and at that point I think he was hooked on  "Hiking the Whites". The rest of the hike that day up to the viewless summit and back to the hut was uneventful except for the shoe modification I mentioned.   Got back to the Hut at  about 5pm 1 hour before dinner.  Kris had fun rock hopping on the falls (making me nervous as hell) and of course got both feet wet with the open toed shoes.  Dinner was good;  lentil soup, homemade bread, salad, split bean salad, mashed potatoes and  pork loin?  The hut policy on meals is eat all you want but eat all you take. No napkins.  Coffee wasn’t too great and though hot water and tea was always available,  coffee wasn’t.  Note to self:  Always bring instant coffee on any future hut hikes.  As advertised, beds came with 3 blankets and a pillow and you had to bring your own linen or sleeping bag , but unexpectedly they did come with  a pillow case.  Kris and I stayed up way past lights out (9pm) watching two brothers play chess.  The high skylight near our bunks had a spider web with a huge spider in it catching and eating flies and it made Kris nervous. Both he and I had trouble sleeping (surprisingly after hiking all day).  I don’t think I actually got to sleep until after midnight.  I got up about six and started packing our packs for the next day.  One of the Hut staff performed reveille by softly playing the guitar before announcing breakfast (0700) . Breakfast consisted of cream of wheat with all sorts of good things to add (brown sugar, granola, peaches ….) . Kris even tried some and liked it. That was followed by really heavy blueberry pancakes with the blue berries blended in so that the pancakes themselves were blue.  Kris had to carry his own gear and water this day and did really good all the way up the "Lend-a-Hand " trail to Mt. Hale. We had a running joke that he was the hare and I was the tortoise. He would walk up faster than me then sit and take a break until I lumbered past him. "Here comes the tortoise". The Mt Hale summit is somewhat bare but has high trees around the opening, blocking any real views unless you are standing on top of the large cairn built there. We ate lunch then started down Hale Brook trail. K ris didn’t want to hang around much because there was a bee that seemed only attracted to him. Going down our roles sort of reversed because I was doing really good but Kris’s legs were starting to bother him.  For the last 1000 vertical feet I hooked his pack on to mine (see pics) and then we were both doing good.  At the bottom where the trail meets Zealand Rd we still had about a mile hike up to the Zealand Trail head were I left the truck.  The AMC shuttle went past us just as we got to the road but he ignored our attempts to wave him down. This was a relatively easy and pleasant two day hut hike. Since Kris did so good and was enthusiastic about it, I am planning to try a bit more ambitious hut hike from Galehead hut doing the Twins, Galehead & Garfield.  But first I have to get some better boots for Kris.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this hike.  I really like hiking solo at my own pace with no responsibilities except for myself, but Kris has no problem hiking at my pace , and I actually found him to be an interesting hiking companion enthusiastic about hiking, interesting and not a burden.

Kris at thje biginning of the trail

jiust before the only steep section up to the hut.

Not a good picture but I kept it to show the bunks.
Kris on the boulders above the falls near the hut.


View from Zealand Cliffs.

View from Zealand Cliffs.


View from Zealand Cliffs.

Continuing to Mt Zealand

spur to the viewless Zealand peak.

Kris's #1

My #18
View near Zeacliff

Back at the falls near the Hut

Day 2 on the way to Hale

Cairn on top of Mt Hale (Kris's #2)

Kris at old fire tower anchors

View from top of cairn.

View if not on the cairn.

Kris leaving Mt Hale


Kris's pack piggy backed onto mine.
only for a short while when his legs were sore 

Kris (packless) with sore legs
using my hiking sticks.

At the Hale Brook trail head.
Still a mile road hike back to the truck

Dog in a side car going down the Kanc